Modeling Irradiance Distributions in Agrivoltaic Systems
Land use constraints have motivated investigation into the spatial coexistence of solar photovoltaic electricity production and agricultural production. Previous work suggests that agriculture-photovoltaic (agrivoltaic) systems either decrease crop yield or are limited to shade-tolerant crops. Existing experimental work has also emphasized fixed south-facing configurations with traditional commercial panel shapes, and modeling work is sparse. In this work, the effects of different photovoltaic array configurations and panel designs on field insolation spatial and temporal variation are explored in detail to determine photovoltaic design routes that may increase expected crop yield in agrivoltaic systems. It is found that photovoltaic row orientation is the most influential factor on insolation homogeneity due to shadow migration paths. Additionally, it is shown that utilization of mini-modules in patterned panel designs may create more optimal conditions for plant growth while using the same area of PV, thus improving the land efficiency ratio of the agrivoltaic system. Different solar tracking algorithms are explored to optimize the trade-off between electricity production and expected crop growth. The feasibility of select agrivoltaic systems is explored for multiple U.S. locations. This thesis concludes with recommendations for photovoltaic system designs corresponding with specific crop growth considerations.
Collaborative Research: NRT-INFEWS: Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems (SFEWS)
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