Crop-responsive PV tracking system for greenhouses

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A research consortium led by Israel-based Triangle R&D Center Alzahrawy Society has deployed a novel PV tracking system for energy production in greenhouses, as part of a European Union Horizon-funded project, known as Regace.

The group is investigating crop-responsive PV tracking systems supplied by project partner TriSolar, a PV systems supplier based in Israel, along with CO2 enrichment methods. It deploys customized monocrystalline bifacial PV panels with double 2mm tempered glass, passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) solar cells with 25.5% efficiency, measuring 105 mm * 105 mm.

There are five different frameless module configurations deployed across the six installations of the Regace project. They range from a 65 W module measuring 1100 mm x 360 mm x 35 mm with 24 cells to 145 W modules measuring 1700 mm x 530 mm x 35 mm with 52 cells. The light transmittance of the modules ranges from 25.3% to 36.2%.  There is an intelligent control mechanism to adjust the angle of the PV panels based on crop light requirements.

The study involves six locations, including two operational farms, to understand performance with different crops, latitudes, and greenhouse types. The latest test site is located at Bio-Gärtnerei Watzkendorf, a German organic farm with experience using organic carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment methods.

“The deployment in Germany will enable us to test our technology under authentic conditions,” project coordinator Ibrahim Yehia of the Alzahrawy Society told pv magazine. “We are confident that we will be able to demonstrate that agrivoltaics can be a major contributor to the EU clean energy portfolio, simultaneously addressing green energy and food security needs.”

The other pilots are located at Humbolt University in Germany, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Austria, and one farm in Italy, Fattoria Solidale del Circeo. The next greenhouse system will be located at the University of Thessaly in Greece.

Besides the organizations mentioned above, the Regace consortium includes Israel-based Interteam Project Management and Tel Aviv University, along with Italy-based University Tor Vergata and Belgium’s Timelex.

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