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Agrivoltaics: Where Engineers Meet Farmers

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Agrivoltaics (Agri-PV) is defined as land-use concept that co-locates photovoltaic (PV) energy generation with agriculture and nature conservation, which are dependent on sunlight. Agri-PV presents an opportunity to maximize land use efficiency while promoting eco-friendly energy generation and agricultural productivity. Agri-PV installations should guarantee that the agricultural activity is at least preserved, and at most improved. An approach of PV implementation on farmland in harmony with agriculture and nature conservation, needs to be at the core of Agri-PV development and that is where engineers and farmers need to learn from each other. Certain skills and knowledge are needed to further accelerate the deployment of Agri-PV. The talk will present the design of PV systems that involve panel configurations such as monofacial fixed-tilt modules suspended above agriculture, monofacial single-axis modules fitted with trackers which alter their angle throughout the day, and vertical bifacial modules set in fence-like rows. The configurations are based on the type of crops grown for optimal land use, and an increase in land productivity. Beyond that, PV modules can provide shading and shelter in dry climates to make irrigation and water retention easier, fostering more vibrant ecosystems beneath them. Crops beneath or adjacent to panels can also increase their efficiency by cooling the system through transpiring water vapors. Future trends on transparent PV and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for planning & monitoring system performance will also be introduced. Speaker(s): Santosh, Virtual: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/371683

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