Agrovoltaics a Solar Innovation and Triple usage of Solar Energy

1. Solar Panels on Farm Land                                        

When Solar Panels are installed for a long duration on farm land ,  the agricultural organizations are frustrated because of losses of land, food production for people or animals.
The agricultural structure disintegrates and  land is no more available for  sustainable  development of farms
Today there is  energy transition from fossil and nuclear energy towards renewable energy . Agriculture and horticulture will  play an important  role in it.
Also the agricultural sector has to lower the  emission of  greenhouse gases.
Solar panels have to be installed on farm land.
There are today innovative technologies to combine solar energy with farm land.

2. Solar panels on farmland: double usage, double yield

On a piece of farm land 2 complementary products can we produced

  • Photovoltaic energy
  • Agriculture products

The photovoltaic energy serves for the  production of electricity
Agriculture produces food
It is essential  that crops are selected who have a higher photosynthetic yield then grasses and  have a maximum dissolution of CO2 and production of Carbon
Following plants are selected today :  potatoes, sugar beets, soy, winter wheat, rape seed asparagus salsifies fruit … depending on the reduced solar irradiation and the water balance.
Since photosynthesis takes place in the  leaves of plants, many crops have a better global
photosynthesis result then grasses.
Research is going on to determine the best  crops for each specific agricultural environment and climate


2.1 Configuration of solar panels

Following set up of panels has been  designed
The solar panels are installed on  piles with a free height of 2.5 meter and foreseen with 3x4 panels on 2 driven piles with a distance of about 6 meter between the rows
By this way no farm land is lost and crops can be seeded , and harvested with modern farm machines
Between and under the panels crops can be sown , grow and harvested with adapted farm machines . By this way we realize an upgrade of the meadows and land in all over the globe.


2.2 Business case: Agrovoltaic field of 1500 m2

The panels are mounted on  piles with a length of about 4.5 meter,  about 2 m in the ground and 2.5 m free height. The panels are installed with an inclination of 10 to 30  degrees and a distance between the rows of 6 m. By this way we can install 100 kW peak
Four panels of 200x100 are installed above each other in landscape position and 3 next to each other , so there are 12 panels for each  basic structure who is supported  by 2 piles.
This position is defined to sew and harvest crops over the complete surface of the agriculture land.
By this positioning 250 panels of 400 Watt peak of 2 meters can be installed with a total output of 100 kilowatt peak.
The expected  energy  is 100.000 KWH
The cost price is around 59.000 euro all in
The price of the photovoltaic current to the end consumer is between 6 and 10 eurocent per KWH
The financial yield of the crop is around 1000 euro per year
This gives :
Payback time for 6 Eurocent / kwh  is 8.7 years
Payback time for 10 Eurocent  / kwh is 5.5 years

3. Electricity food and drinkable water

Annexed is a lay out of a triple usage Photovoltaic plant 100 Megawatt and the related business calculation.
100 Megawatt electricity in sunny regions produces about 130 million Kwh.
The surface of the plant is 1 square kilometer ( 100 hectares, 300 acres ). Under the panels plants are protected against excessive sunshine, plant growth is recovering , and agriculture and cattle breeding are reviving.
When there is no drinkable water available a supply pipe of seawater or low quality water allows to desalinate or clean the water for plant, animal, and human.
The production and storage of big quantities of drinkable water is the most simple storage of energy. In order to build such a big plant we need a PPA power purchase agreement for 15 years from a city or industry at 4.9 ct$ per Kwh.
At these conditions an IRR of 13.2 % can be reached which is sufficient for investors.

Download Triple Solar - Business Model