Farms are located where sunlight is available, which makes them a good location to deploy structures to collect solar energy. Traditional solar energy structures cast shadows, however, which affects how much sunlight crops receive and decreases yield.
Purdue University researchers have created solar energy modules mounted lower to the ground than traditional modules used on farms. Because the structures are not as tall, they do not require deeper foundations so the system is more affordable and requires less time for a return on investment. The structures also use a rotation system and sensors to optimize the amount of energy generated and the amount of light that crops receive.
Muhammad Ashraful Alam, the Jai N. Gupta Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering; Mitch Tuinstra, professor of plant breeding and genetics, the Wickersham Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Research, and scientific director of the Institute for Plant Sciences
IN THE MEDIA
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“The Purdue invention can solve multiple challenges that have slowed the adoption of agrivoltaics. One is the cost of installation. Solar panels may be installed on tall and deep supports so that machinery can pass underneath, whereas the Purdue invention proposes panels near the ground that can rotate out of harm’s way. Another concern is the effect on crop yields. However, by optimizing the rotation for specific types of crops, yields can be increased.” – Jacob Brejcha, Licensing Associate – Physical Sciences