Module Technology for Agrivoltaics: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Farms

23 Aug 2020  ·  Riaz Muhammad Hussnain, Younas Rehan, Imran Hassan, Alam Muhammad Ashraful, Butt Nauman Zafar ·

Agrivoltaics is an innovative approach in which solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generation is collocated with agricultural production to enable food-energy-water synergies and landscape ecological conservation. This dual-use requirement leads to unique co-optimization challenges (e.g. shading, soiling, spacing) that make module technology and farm topology choices distinctly different from traditional solar farms... Here we compare the performance of the traditional optimally-titled North/South (N/S) faced monofacial farms with a potential alternative based on vertical East/West (E/W)-faced bifacial farms. Remarkably, the vertical farm produces essentially the same energy output and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) compared to traditional farms as long as the PV array density is reduced to half or lower relative to that for the standard ground-mounted PV farms. Our results explain the relative merits of the traditional mono facial vs. vertical bifacial farms as a function of array density, acceptable PAR-deficit, and energy production. The combined PAR/Energy yields for the vertical bifacial farm may not always be superior, it could still be an attractive choice for agrivoltaics due to its distinct advantages such as minimum land coverage, least hindrance to the farm machinery and rainfall, inherent resilience to PV soiling, easier cleaning and cost advantages due to potentially reduced elevation. read more

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Applied Physics