Featured Project: Purdue University Elevated Solar Panels

Our first featured renewable energy project is a joint project between PU Chemical Enginering and PU Agronomy Department at the Sustainable Food, Energy and Water Systems (SFEWS) research project in West Lafeyette.

“This research will explore novel photovoltaic arrangements, structures, and materials such that food, energy, and water demands can be met simultaneously without any detriment to crop output,” according to the project’s website.

The project is a 5-year research program through Purdue’s NSF research traineeship with 2019 as the first growing season.

Don Villwock explains, “Our goal is to produce electricity with minimal crop production disturbance. The elevated platforms will allow farmers to use conventional farm equipment around the panels.  A Chemical Engineer invented a photo voltaic cells that let the wavelengths needed for crop production to pass through the panel and and uses the wavelength needed to produce electricity within the solar cell.”

Solar panels have often reduced crop yield beneath by up to 40%, a figure that the new photo voltaic cells aim to address.

Further reading

Purdue.Edu: Initial press release from Purdue University Local Sunshine Meets Local Needs with Global Impact — Key Is Cogenerating Electricity Alongside Farming

Purdue Engineering project website: NSF RESEARCH

Submit your on-farm, ag, or agribusiness renewable energy project to IN-ACRE to be featured below

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