Business World of Renewable Energy

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Bifacial PV Agro Systems Empower Agricultural Farms in Ireland

Freiburg, Germany - Near Waterford, Ireland, the first two agro-photovoltaic systems in Ireland based on the Next2Sun system concept with in total 138 vertically mounted bifacial solar modules have recently been installed.

The two systems with east- and west-facing solar module sides have an output of 25 and 27 kilowatts peak (kWp) respectively. In the future, they will supply two agricultural dairy farms with electricity. The expected electricity yield per plant is around 30,000 kilowatt hours per year. In addition to covering their self-consumption, the plants will reduce operating costs by up to 40 percent and contribute to reducing annual CO2 emissions. The PV systems were installed by Sunstream Energy Ltd from Waterford.

The core idea behind the Next2Sun GmbH system concept is the vertical mounting of special solar modules that can utilize the light from both sides ("bifacial" modules). Depending on the orientation of the mounting, the systems offer a different generation profile compared to conventional solar systems. With a vertical elevation facing east or west, bifacial solar systems produce the majority of the electricity in the morning and evening hours, i.e. at times when standard south-facing systems generate hardly any electricity. This production profile "solar power with peak production in the morning and evening" is particularly interesting with a view to the energy revolution.

But also for dairy farms like the two Agro-PV plants in Ireland, the production profile of the Next2Sun plants with an east-west orientation largely corresponds to the requirements of the farms. For both farmers, the peak power consumption is in the morning and early evening. At these times there is a load of 25 to 30 kW which, according to Next2Sun, can be completely covered by the systems on sunny days.

In addition to the high self-consumption rate, systems with the Next2Sun concept also offer the advantage that through the vertical elevation of the bifacial solar modules, the value of the floor area is not affected. Furthermore, the space of at least 10 meters between the rows allows the use of conventional agricultural machinery. With the usual working widths, about 90 percent of the solar park area can be used for agricultural purposes such as pasture farming. Thus, the Next2Sun concept achieves a balance between agricultural usage and electricity generation of sun power, Next2Sun emphasizes.

Source: IWR Online, 28 Nov 2019