What happens when a solar energy provider and a greenhouse manufacturer spend sometime together? Solar powered green houses that is what. This seems like a match made in heaven as are most agricultural applications for renewable energy. I think we can expect to see a lot more activity from solar companies in the agricultural sector.
Solaria Corporation, global provider of solar module technologies, and Soliculture, provider of greenhouse integrated photovoltaics (GIPV) for commercial greenhouse growers, today announced a strategic collaboration for PV-agriculture applications. Solaria’s timely equity investment in Soliculture allows the companies to combine their technologies to create PV solutions for greenhouse applications that allow growers to generate revenue on the existing footprint of their greenhouses without compromising agricultural productivity. Together, the companies have completed their first commercial project with one of the largest commercial greenhouse owners and growers in Northern California. Implemented earlier this month, the system expects to deliver a return on investment in just six years, attractive numbers for an increasingly demanding global agriculture market.
“Solaria is excited to work with Soliculture to address two of the most pressing issues of our time – food and energy security,” said Suvi Sharma, CEO, Solaria Corporation.
According to the World Bank, we need to produce at least 50 percent more food by 2050 to keep up with growing populations. We are all too familiar with the critical importance of creating a more sustainable energy future. To be able to address both crop yields and climate change with one product is revolutionary.
The two companies capitalized on a unique technical synergy between Solaria’s proprietary cell processing technology and Soliculture’s luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) technology. Together, they offer customers a combined value of high efficiency, aesthetically attractive modules at a cost effective price with an altered light spectrum optimized for plant growth while simultaneously generating electricity. This product answers the unique needs of farmers and their businesses for a material that has neutral effects on plants but that also generates enough power to make it economically compelling. Now greenhouse growers have a major incentive to incorporating building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) into their agriculture projects.
“Farmers are the unrecognized heroes of our time but they will not be able to keep up with demand, increased costs and worsening growing conditions due to climate change unless we create innovations to help them,” said Glenn Alers, President and CEO, Soliculture.
Dedicated research and years of PV experience combined have enabled Soliculture and Solaria to provide greenhouse growers with a new tool that can provide them the economic benefit of solar energy generation, along with improved agriculture production, on the same footprint. This is the future of solar, and it is now fully available for farmers to leverage incentives, save energy and save money.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.