Integration of bifacial photovoltaics in agrivoltaic systems: A synergistic design approach

Odysseas Alexandros Katsikogiannis, Hesan Ziar*, Olindo Isabella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

To safeguard future renewable energy and food supply the use of agrophotovoltaic (APV) systems was investigated, which enable simultaneous production under the same piece of land. As conventional photovoltaic (PV) array topologies lead to unfavourable conditions for crop growth, the application of APV is limited to areas with high solar insolation. By optimizing the APV array’s design, compatibility with various climates and crop species can be attained. Therefore, the aim of this research was to establish a multi-scale modelling approach and determine the optimal topology for a medium-to-large-scale fixed bifacial APV array. Three main topologies were analyzed under the climate of Boston, USA: S-N facing, E-W wings, and E-W vertical. For each topology, respectively, specific yield was amplified by 39%, 18%, and 13% in comparison to a conventional monofacial ground mounted PV array. E-W vertical is more appropriate for permanent crop species, while S-N facing necessitates the cultivation of shade tolerant crops during summer as electricity generation is prioritized. The E-W wings APV topology combines the best of both; light is distributed homogeneously, and crops are effectively shaded at noon. To promote the growth rate of blueberries under shade, customized bifacial modules were integrated (arranged as the E-W wings). Land productivity enhanced by 50%, whereas electrical AC yield reduced by 33% relative to the conventional and separate production. Through this holistic approach, it is possible to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the limitations and potential synergies associated with the dual use of land; ultimately, encouraging the transition of the agricultural sector into sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118475
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Energy
Volume309
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Agrivoltaics
  • Agrophotovoltaic design
  • Bifacial solar photovoltaic optimization
  • Land equivalent ratio
  • Multi-scale sensitivity analysis
  • Radiance/Daysim simulation

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