How does the combination of agriculture and energy production work?

Technology

From a technical point of view, agrivoltaic-systems generate electricity in the same way as conventional photovoltaic systems. But to enable dual land use, agrivoltaic-systems must meet special technical and structural components.

Classification of agrivoltaic-systems

Generally, a distinction can be made between open and closed systems.

The latter are used in PV greenhouses. Open agrivoltaics-systems are divided into highly elevated (management UNDER modules) and ground-level systems (management BETWEEN modules).

Module technologies

From an agricultural perspective, module technologies that let the light spectra necessary for plant growth pass are of particular interest.

These include organic photovoltaics or semitransparent module technologies.

Fraunhofer ISE also performs technology and sustainability assessments as well as life cycle analyses for solar cells.

Besondere PV-Module

Substructure

The substructure must be adapted to the agricultural use. Especially the anchoring of the substructure should not have a negative impact on the soil quality.

Specially, anchorages such as screw and pile foundations can be considered.

Spinnanker animation.jpg

Light management

The biggest challenge in designing an agrivolatic-system is to find a compromise between electricity generation and agricultural yields.

Providing sufficient and homogeneous light for crops can be achieved in numerous ways. These include a deviation from a southern orientation to the east or west, the use of narrow modules such as in Japan, or targeted light management through tracking systems.

With tracking systems, the shading can be actively controlled according to the respective requirements of the plants.

Kleine Module

Watermanagement

The partial roofing of the area changes the distribution of precipitation.

In a system design, this must be considered in order to avoid negative effects of the PV modules' drip edges on soil and plants.

Measures that can be used to achieve this include the use of special modules (narrow, tubular) or a complete system approach with integrated rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater_Harvesting APV