Dual use of land for agricultural food production and energy production: Development of a model to determine the theoretical maximum crop and electricity yield
Agrivoltaic (AgriPV) describes the simultaneous use of land for agricultural food production and energy generation. The dual use of land for food production and electricity generation is a promising concept. It can help meet the world's growing demand for food and electricity in the face of increasing land scarcity. The AgriPV technology supports the energy transition by generating solar power without blocking fertile farmland. The concept can be implemented, for example, by combining elevated photovoltaic modules over cultivated land, integrating PV modules on greenhouse roofs or vertical bifacial PV modules as fences that absorb sunlight from both sides.
Model to determine the most economically promising combination
The DLR Institute for Solar Research is working on a model to determine the most economically promising combination of agricultural activity and solar power generation for the theoretical maximum harvest and electricity yield. The model considers parameters such as location and therefore meteorological conditions, different types of cultivation and the influence of economic and political conditions, such as subsidies for solar energy. It also includes different possible combinations of photovoltaic modules. The results obtained are compared with the economic potential of conventional PV systems, for example also pure agricultural land. The model will be applicable and freely available worldwide.
Advantages of AgriPV
Climate change is exposing farmers to increased weather extremes such as heavy rain, hail and drought. Rising temperatures are leading to water shortages. The changes bring economic uncertainties, putting increasing pressure on farms. AgriPV concepts bring several benefits:
Wavelength-selective photovoltaic module transmits required wavelengths for plant growth
The DLR Institute for Solar Research, together with the DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems, conducted an analysis of the use of photovoltaics on the roof of greenhouses following the HYPP research project. The researchers examined semi-transparent and opaque, meaning light-impermeable PV modules as well as wavelength-selective PV cells. The wavelength-selective photovoltaic cells developed by the DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems transmit the wavelengths of light required for photosynthesis, so that plant growth is made possible under the module. The remaining radiation spectrum can be absorbed by the PV cell and used to generate electricity. The results of the analysis of different PV modules and geometries are incorporated into the AgriPV model.