Agri-PV System By US University

Purdue University Researchers Create Agrivoltaic Structures Compatible With Large Scale Agriculture
Pictured are the agrivoltaic structures created by Purdue University researchers. (Photo Credit: Purdue University)
Pictured are the agrivoltaic structures created by Purdue University researchers. (Photo Credit: Purdue University)
  • Researchers at the Purdue University have created agrivoltaic structures that they believe are more optimized than traditional ones
  • These are prepared using dual, off-axis rotation system and sensors that can turn the structure vertical, allowing farm equipment to pass through
  • They are now looking for a solar energy developer and industrial partner to bring the structure to the market

The College of Agriculture and College of Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, US has created an 'innovative' solar module structure using a dual, off-axis rotation system and sensors to form a near-vertical structure to allow farm equipment to pass which it claims is more affordable and optimized configuration for agrivoltaic projects.

Raising module height to enable farm equipment to navigate in a field, as is the practice in traditional structures, needs deeper foundation which 'dramatically' increases the cost of solar farms, according to Purdue University Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Mitch Tuinstra.

"The key idea is that when farm equipment needs to pass, the modules will rotate to form a near-vertical structure," said Tuinstra. "At other times, the modules will track the sun as usual."

The new structure the Purdue team proposes has modules mounted much lower, doing away with the concern of shadows cast by traditional agrivoltaic structures that decrease crop yield. This, it claims, makes the system more affordable and decreases the time needed for a return on investment.

Designed for row crops as corn, soyabeans, wheat and rice, these structures are fine-tuned to allow sunlight, rain and shadows to reach plants as needed. These can also withstand harsh weather conditions.

According to the researchers, these structures can be implemented for full scale farming while using current farm equipment. The team has applied for a patent on the intellectual property.

They now plan to partner with a solar energy developer or an industrial partnership to bring these improved agrivoltaic structures to the market.

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