Revolutionary photovoltaic greenhouse panel to be available by end of 2012
By Treena Hein
A new type of photovoltaic module being tested in Spain allows electricity to be generated without greenhouse crops being affected by over-shading.
The technology, which covers an area of approximately 400 m2, was developed by the ULMA Agrícola consortium and Tecnalia. It overcomes the problems associated with winter over-shading and summer radiation in a simple, robust and effective way.
Apart from providing economic benefits for farmers through the sale and/or private use of the energy generated, the module allows for the seasonal control of the radiation and interior temperature of the greenhouse.
“Depending on the season of the year, solar radiation can be diverted by taking advantage of the annual oscillation in the height of the sun’s trajectory; this is achieved through a lens-based optical system. Without the need for any solar mechanical monitoring, the technology allows the needs imposed by any crop to be met. So during the winter (October-February), the light inside the greenhouse, a key parameter for correct plant development, barely falls. But in summer the optical system diverts solar radiation towards the photovoltaic cells that make up the module, thus achieving a dual aim: to provide the greenhouse with cooling during the critical period of high temperatures and to increase electricity production through the photovoltaic system.”
The consortium is aiming to have a product ready to be marketed by the second half of 2012.
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