Structures & Equipment
An energy-producing greenhouse
By Dave Harrison
Aug. 12, 2015, Fremont, CA – Solaria Corporation, a global provider of solar module technologies, and Soliculture, a provider of greenhouse integrated photovoltaics (GIPV) for commercial greenhouse growers, have announced a strategic collaboration for PV-agriculture applications.
Solaria’s timely equity investment in Soliculture allows the companies to combine their technologies to create PV solutions for greenhouse applications that allow growers to generate revenue on the existing footprint of their greenhouses without compromising agricultural productivity.
“Solaria is excited to work with Soliculture to address two of the most pressing issues of our time – food and energy security,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO, Solaria Corporation.
“According to the World Bank, we need to produce at least 50 per cent more food by 2050 to keep up with growing populations. We are all too familiar with the critical importance of creating a more sustainable energy future. To be able to address both crop yields and climate change with one product is revolutionary.”
UNIQUE TECHNICAL SYNERGY
The two companies capitalized on a unique technical synergy between Solaria’s proprietary cell processing technology and Soliculture’s luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) technology.
Together, they offer customers a combined value of high efficiency, aesthetically attractive modules at a cost effective price with an altered light spectrum optimized for plant growth while simultaneously generating electricity.
This product answers the unique needs of farmers and their businesses for a material that has neutral effects on plants but that also generates enough power to make it economically compelling.
Now greenhouse growers have a major incentive to incorporating building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) into their agriculture projects.
“Farmers are the unrecognized heroes of our time but they will not be able to keep up with demand, increased costs and worsening growing conditions due to climate change unless we create innovations to help them,” said Glenn Alers, president and CEO of Soliculture.
“Dedicated research and years of PV experience combined have enabled Soliculture and Solaria to provide greenhouse growers with a new tool that can provide them the economic benefit of solar energy generation, along with improved agriculture production, on the same footprint. This is the future of solar, and it is now fully available for farmers to leverage incentives, save energy and save money.”
Solaria Corporation is a solar technology company that is paving the way for decentralized, clean power generation through optimized solutions for a range of applications. Solaria designs, manufactures and markets high-efficiency silicon PV modules and systems for rooftop, utility, building facades and greenhouses. Solaria headquarters are in California.
Reinforced by extensive plant trials and support from the commercial greenhouse grower community, Soliculture’s wavelength selective greenhouse panels simultaneously enhance light quality onto plants while generating power above them.
The company’s Greenhouse Integrated Photovoltaic (GIPV) panels enable power production directly above plant growth. The greenhouse provides an ideal structure to support the panels, hence no additional racking or support is required creating an ideal location for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).