Agrivoltaics with Spectral Beam Splitting

Agri-Photovoltaics (Agrivoltaics, APV) is an emerging field with rapidly growing interest. However, the typical APV layout is no different than standard PV farms. Because standard PV panels essentially block all sunlight, the field density is highly compromised to allow sufficient visible light to reach the crops, thus significantly reducing the potential electrical output from the APV field. The researchers have developed a unique APV collector with spectral beam splitting, which divides the sunlight between conversion to electricity and the transmission of visible light necessary for crops. Models and computational simulations were also developed to provide an evaluation of the optical and electrical performance of such collectors. Our analysis shows that the new collector not only avoids a significant penalty in crop yield but also allows higher field density than standard APV and accordingly better electricity output per unit area.

APV layout that maximizes the value of electrical output (i.e., high field density) while allowing no/minimal damage to crop yield.

A unique configuration of a collector unit that includes a bi-facial standard PV panel mounted perpendicular to the sun’s direction and two spectral beam splitters (mirrors) located at an angle of 45 degrees on both sides of the panel. The design of the mirrors allows the transmission of part of the solar radiation (visible/PAR, or part of the visible) directly toward the ground crops, while the other part of the solar spectrum is reflected symmetrically towards the panel and converted into electricity. The whole structure is tracking the sun with a single-axis mechanism.
This approach makes it possible to reduce the spacing between collector rows in the field up to the full density commonly used in commercial photovoltaic fields, as opposed to half the density used in standard APV fields. The advantage is therefore dual: (1) minimal impact on the crop yield (the impact in half density, standard APV is still significant, in the magnitude of 20-30% and (2) higher electricity output per unit area.

APV with Spectral Beam Splitting can be used for open-area agriculture with crops that are intolerant to shade. 
The global APV market was valued at $3.17B in 2021 and is expected to grow to $8.9B by 2030.

Initial proof of concept at a laboratory scale, with complete prototype collector testing. A Full-scale field was designed and analyzed optically and electrically. A techno-economic model for large-scale APV systems was developed and calibrated against current feed-in tariffs.

Know How.

1. Shalom, B. Optical and electrical performance of an agrivoltaic field with spectral beam splitting. M.Sc. Thesis, Tel Aviv University (2022).
2. Baron, S. Agrivoltaic solar collectors with spectral beam splitting. M.Sc. Thesis, Tel Aviv University (2022).
3. Shalom B., Kribus A., Mittelman G., Vitoshkin E., Optical and electrical performance of an agrivoltaic field with spectral beam splitting. 23 Sede Boqer Symp. Solar Electricity Production, Sede Boqer, Sep. 2022.
4. Vitoshkin E., Mittelman G., Baron S., Shalom B., Halperin I., Kribus A., Agrivolatic field with spectral splitting collectors: performance modeling and lab-scale experimental results. Agrivoltaics 2022, Piacenza, June 2022.

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