Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels

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Report: Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels

Abstract
An unprecedented demand for Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) over coming decades require integrated FEW innovations with least environmental footprint. Collocating solar photovoltaic (PV) technology with agriculture is a promising approach towards dual land productivity that could locally fulfil growing food and energy demands. This 'agrivoltaic' (AV) solution can be highly suitable for hot and arid climates where an optimized solar panel coverage could prevent excessive thermal stress thereby increasing the crop yield and lowering the water budget. One of the concerns with using standard fixed tilt solar array structure that faces north/south (N/S) direction for AV farming is the spatial heterogeneity in the daily sunlight distribution for crops and soil water contents, both of which could affect crop yield. Dynamic tilt control through a tracking system can eliminate this problem but could increase the system cost and complexity. Here, we investigate east/west (E/W) faced vertical bifacial panel structure for AV farming and show that this could provide a much better spatial homogeneity for daily sunlight distribution relative to the fixed tilt N/S faced PV structure implying a better suitability for monoculture cropping. By modeling PV energy and crop yield under varying density (row to row pitch) for PV arrays and shade tolerances for crops, we show that E/W vertical bifacial panels can provide ~5% better land productivity as compared to N/S faced fixed tilt panels for Lahore (31.520N, 74.358E) when PV array density is slightly lower than that of a standard solar farm. In contrast, when PV arrays are denser than the standard, land productivity for E/W vertical bifacial panels degrades due to mutual shading. These results, together with high inherent resilience to soiling (dust accumulation) losses for E/W vertical bifacial panels, indicate their attractive prospects for AV applications.

Authors 
Rehan Younasa, Hassan Imrana, Muhammad Hussnain Riaza and Nauman Zafar Butta




Organization 
Lahore University


Published 
arXiv.org, 2019


Report Number 
1910.01076

DOI 
Not Provided
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Online 
Internet link for Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels
Citation

Rehan Younasa, Hassan Imrana, Muhammad Hussnain Riaza, Nauman Zafar Butta (Lahore University). 2019. Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels. Lahore, Pakistan: arXiv.org. Report No.: 1910.01076.