Israeli startup launches agrivoltaic pilot in desert with double-axis sun tracking

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Agri-Light Energy Systems, an Israeli agrivoltaic startup, recently launched its first pilot project in the Negev Desert. The company is using patented technology based on two-axis sun tracking.

The first project features a rail system to move the solar panels horizontally above the crops, while the second will position them at an optimal angle toward the sun.

“The first pilot, installed above a vineyard in Ramat Negev of southern Israel, tests eight varieties of wine grapes against a control plot. It is accompanied by agronomic research,” CEO Udi Wild told pv magazine. “Initial data on the panels' impact on the vineyard will be collected after the planned August harvest.”

The tested plot is 1,000 square meters with 100 PV modules installed at a height of 3 meters. Each panel provides 540 W of rated power.

“Agri-Light's solution addresses the conflict of balancing the necessary sunlight for crops and solar panels,” said Wild. “We solve it by managing shading positions without compromising electricity production. It enables more comfortable plant growth conditions – reducing the temperature in extreme and prolonged weather conditions, protecting against hail and frost, and saving irrigation water due to reduced evaporation.”

The startup's solution is designed for orchards and vineyards. The panels are placed 3 meters to 5 meters above the ground, depending on the crop type, allowing agricultural machinery to operate. The company says a standard installation covers 40% to 50% of the area with solar panels, with a production ratio of about 1 MW for 10,000 square meters.

“The development is based on algorithms installed in a control system, fed by sensors distributed throughout the plot, allowing for precise positioning of the shade cast by the panels over the ground based on specific growth needs,” Wild explained. “We are also developing a system that will allow more precise prediction and adaptation, utilizing AI technologies.

Wild added that the company is due to initiate several commercial projects in Israel and Spain in 2025. In addition, Agri-Light is currently working to promote pilots in Europe, the United States, and Africa.

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