Adapting agrivoltaics to different climates, crops


From pv magazine Global

An interdisciplinary consortium led by Italy’s Eurac Research has launched a new research project, Symbiosyst,  to develop technological solutions and strategies to increase the competitiveness of agrivoltaics solutions across Europe, while minimising the impact on the landscape.

The consortium aims to develop standardised cost-effective PV modules, mounting structures, and O&M solutions that meet the needs of various crops across climates and landscapes. Planned innovations will include the use of functional coatings from Dutch tech specialist Physee in greenhouses. The coatings reportedly optimise the sunlight entering the greenhouse through spectral shifting by converting UV light into photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which improves crop growth.

The pilot project will also seek to adapt single horizontal axis tracker technology used in PV utility-scale systems to agrivoltaic applications. The tracker technology of Italian manufacturer Convert, a unit of US-based Valmont, will be used in three steel mono-axial tracker structures less than 2.10 meters high. The trackers will be made of weathering steel, a low-cost material that turns brown over time, lowering the visual impact of the structure.

Symbiosyst will also develop a SCADA control system paired with a tracker tilting control system, in order to reduce the use of cables. The project will demonstrate the technology by setting up agrivoltaic plant demonstrators. The solutions will be in-field studied in four agricultural scenarios differing in location, climate, size, and kinds of crops.

“Our role at Eurac Research will concern the development of methodologies to aid the early design of agri-PV plants, to look into sustainability aspects and to go beyond social acceptance,” said David Moser, project coordinator.

The other consortium members include Belgian research center Imec, Italian research energy ENEA, German module manufacturer Aleo Solar, and Spain’s Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya.

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