3. Dr. Helena Vitoshkin
AgriPV High Performance Systems
Volcani Institute, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel
Israel is the obvious and excellent candidate for development in dual-use technologies because of its many sunny days and its limited area. Moreover, vast desert areas would profit from the shading that solar cells would provide if we further develop agriculture in this region.
While Agrovoltaics has clear advantages for the present and the future of agriculture, standard systems provide a challenge that needs to be met. This is the simple fact that standard solar panels typically block some of the sunlight that crops could benefit from because of the method of installation. Our projects address this challenge.
One of the current projects is aimed at developing a spectrally selective solar collector delivering required radiation (PAR) to the plants and other radiation to the PV panels. The concept is based on the idea that splitting the solar spectrum and optimizing the conversion mechanism of each waveband will increase the system’s efficiency. We designed and built a lab-scale prototype to provide experimental measurements for cross-validation with optical models. Based on the obtained results, the optical model was developed for a field-scale system. Simultaneously, experiments with growing plants under modified light are carried out, while the results are used as data for crop model software. Data from both sources enables us to evaluate the dual-use land efficiency.
The other two projects are exploring the potential use of organic photovoltaic films in greenhouse cultivation and developing a dynamic solar tracking method based on canopy to air temperature ratio in a citrus orchard in southern Israel.