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(Denver Channel)   Agrivoltaics combines crop farming with overhead solar panels in order to decrease water usage while generating electricity   (thedenverchannel.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Agriculture, combination of solar panels, crop yields, Meg Caley of Sprout City Farms, Local food, founder of Jack, Farm, Solar Garden  
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727 clicks; posted to STEM » on 28 May 2022 at 11:05 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-05-28 6:02:45 PM  
Since solar seems to be encumbered by real estate problems, this makes sense.
 
2022-05-28 9:56:08 PM  
Good news: we can enhance the crop yield.
Bad news: the crop is kale.
 
2022-05-28 11:25:45 PM  
AgriVoltaics sounds like one of the friendly Transformers.
 
2022-05-28 11:56:02 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Good news: we can enhance the crop yield.
Bad news: the crop is kale.


They've been using it for other crops, too.

But they're still trying to figure out all of the variables... how far apart the panels should be (or total % coverage by panels), how high to place them (generally high enough for tractors to get under), etc.

And it varies by crop and environmental specifics
 
2022-05-28 11:56:24 PM  
Part of growing food in the desert was the farmer didn't have to worry about flooded crops.

This looks like the a mid step towards full solar hydroponics except they need lights, more of a greenhouse walls and lots of batteries and the plants end up with less light.

One issue with solar systems these days is the panels aren't the expensive part of the project anymore.  The last pallet I bought was under $.40 per watt.  That farm has the expensive sun trackers and it looked like lots of micro inverters which are better for logging details but cost about the same as the panels.  Price per sq foot of solar panels is less than a decent home floor covering or external commercial building cladding  now.
 
2022-05-28 11:57:31 PM  
I've been wondering if animals can be put to graze around photovoltaic farms. I don't know if there's space for cows, but goats and sheep might be the right size, followed by chickens to eat the bugs.

Labor intensive greens would need a new look at productivity. If you look at the equipment used to reduce labor on hand picked crops, it's not going to work with rows of solar panels.
 
2022-05-29 12:05:15 AM  

DON.MAC: This looks like the a mid step towards full solar hydroponics except they need lights, more of a greenhouse walls and lots of batteries and the plants end up with less light.


Most plants get more sun than they can use, which is how white polypropylene roofing is the material of commercial green houses and grow ops. Yes, plants have that in common with solar panels.

I suspect ditching the trackers and micro inverters might be a not-bad idea. Fix everything, maybe a pitch adjustment you can make from a single jack screw on a row. Then you're not bumping into wobbly expensive tracking frames when harvesting.
 
2022-05-29 12:24:58 AM  
I had an idea similar to this. Have movable solar panels. Big rows of them. Move them to a field you want to leave empty for crop rotation. But they probably just fertilize everything and don't let the ground recover anymore.
 
2022-05-29 12:27:47 AM  

wildcardjack: I've been wondering if animals can be put to graze around photovoltaic farms. I don't know if there's space for cows, but goats and sheep might be the right size, followed by chickens to eat the bugs.

Labor intensive greens would need a new look at productivity. If you look at the equipment used to reduce labor on hand picked crops, it's not going to work with rows of solar panels.


You can, and many of these systems are putting them high enough that tractors can get under, so cows shouldn't be a problem.

Goats might be, if the wiring isn't armored, though
 
2022-05-29 12:38:07 AM  

wildcardjack: I've been wondering if animals can be put to graze around photovoltaic farms. I don't know if there's space for cows, but goats and sheep might be the right size, followed by chickens to eat the bugs.

Labor intensive greens would need a new look at productivity. If you look at the equipment used to reduce labor on hand picked crops, it's not going to work with rows of solar panels.


There is room for cows with many mounting systems.  They tend to be high enough so a riding law mower can get under them.   I thought I saw a picture of sheep under the solar arrays in 100 kw solar farm in Tasmania but I can't find the photos on the guys blog right now.
 
2022-05-29 12:47:26 AM  

DON.MAC: wildcardjack: I've been wondering if animals can be put to graze around photovoltaic farms. I don't know if there's space for cows, but goats and sheep might be the right size, followed by chickens to eat the bugs.

Labor intensive greens would need a new look at productivity. If you look at the equipment used to reduce labor on hand picked crops, it's not going to work with rows of solar panels.

There is room for cows with many mounting systems.  They tend to be high enough so a riding law mower can get under them.   I thought I saw a picture of sheep under the solar arrays in 100 kw solar farm in Tasmania but I can't find the photos on the guys blog right now.


There are a few here in Ontario that use sheep to keep the weeds down in the solar farms.. But the idea of using the solar farm to tweek Sun exposure for less needy crops is a thing they've been doing in Japan for years.
 
2022-05-29 1:06:46 AM  
I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.
 
2022-05-29 1:07:38 AM  

emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.


Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?
 
2022-05-29 1:12:17 AM  

emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?


less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.
 
2022-05-29 1:13:30 AM  

sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.


Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?
 
2022-05-29 1:14:21 AM  

emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?


I think it is the evaporation from within the plant itself. The more sun it get, the drier it gets. And many plants do not need sun all day long to grow. Some grow better in partial shade. I know that the weeds in my yard grow fastest when they are shaded by trees part/most of the day.
 
2022-05-29 1:16:54 AM  

emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?


A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa
 
2022-05-29 1:19:35 AM  

sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?

A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa


Stay classy, shirt-tucker :D
 
2022-05-29 1:24:11 AM  

emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?

A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa

Stay classy, shirt-tucker :D


Don't like the answer, ask better questions. Or something.
 
2022-05-29 1:25:49 AM  

sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?

A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa

Stay classy, shirt-tucker :D

Don't like the answer, ask better questions. Or something.


Nah, you gave me an answer and I appreciate it. Just think it would have been easier for you to simply type, "yes, it's just evaporation."
 
2022-05-29 1:34:05 AM  

emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?

A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa

Stay classy, shirt-tucker :D

Don't like the answer, ask better questions. Or something.

Nah, you gave me an answer and I appreciate it. Just think it would have been easier for you to simply type, "yes, it's just evaporation."


Except its not just, some crops need less than full sun. Howevermuch water.
 
2022-05-29 1:43:17 AM  

sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?

A lot of crops need way less than full sun... TaaDaaaa

Stay classy, shirt-tucker :D

Don't like the answer, ask better questions. Or something.

Nah, you gave me an answer and I appreciate it. Just think it would have been easier for you to simply type, "yes, it's just evaporation."

Except its not just, some crops need less than full sun. Howevermuch water.


Well than that isn't an answer to my question about water usage, is it? Either way, enjoy your evening!
 
2022-05-29 1:49:03 AM  

emtwo: Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?


Well than that isn't an answer to my question about water usage, is it? Either way, enjoy your evening!

You say that like it was the only question you asked...
 
2022-05-29 1:58:44 AM  

sno man: DON.MAC: wildcardjack: I've been wondering if animals can be put to graze around photovoltaic farms. I don't know if there's space for cows, but goats and sheep might be the right size, followed by chickens to eat the bugs.

Labor intensive greens would need a new look at productivity. If you look at the equipment used to reduce labor on hand picked crops, it's not going to work with rows of solar panels.

There is room for cows with many mounting systems.  They tend to be high enough so a riding law mower can get under them.   I thought I saw a picture of sheep under the solar arrays in 100 kw solar farm in Tasmania but I can't find the photos on the guys blog right now.

There are a few here in Ontario that use sheep to keep the weeds down in the solar farms.. But the idea of using the solar farm to tweek Sun exposure for less needy crops is a thing they've been doing in Japan for years.


Yeah, there's a solar farm near me here in the Japanese boonies that grows tea (I think...) under theirs. Every so often there's a team of little old ladies tending to it.
 
2022-05-29 2:16:03 AM  

Ivo Shandor: Good news: we can enhance the crop yield.
Bad news: the crop is kale.


Kale is good(if you cook it with bacon fat)!
 
2022-05-29 2:30:44 AM  
If you look into C3 vs C4 photosynthesis systems, you find that a lot of plants use C3 and get stressed by peak sunlight. C4 plants, mostly grasses like sugarcane and corn, can soak up a lot more sunlight. And they grow huge, tall stalks, inappropriate for cohabitation of solar farms. Lower growing C3 plants can benefit from the relative shade.
 
2022-05-29 4:08:40 AM  

emtwo: sno man: emtwo: emtwo: I don't understand how this saves on water usage, and TFA doesn't explain that.

Just less loss to evaporation I guess? But can't you already avoid that by watering at sundown?

less to evaporation means you need to use less, even at sundown.

Any other reason that I'm not grasping, or do you reckon evaporation is the sole reason?


I think less evaporation overall and also some condensation. Dew would gather and run off the panels, providing a small addition of soil moisture

/moist
 
2022-05-29 5:01:30 AM  
Well, the Propaniacs had a good run, I guess. Still gonna miss 'um, tho
 
2022-05-29 7:01:50 AM  
Caley talked about her "waist high kale." Um. That is not so great. The problem with plants that grow that big is that they get tougher, harder, bitter, and go to seed. The article is basically a Boulder organic farm that needs a gimmick to sell its plants. So this is it. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. But then come the claims that this is the nation's first, yada yada yada. Ok. So good for them.

As someone said upthread, this is not a new thing. The research is at least a decade old. Practical applications are very common, not surprisingly in greenhouses. Israel and Spain and Japan and even Canada and Korea do A LOT of solar greenhouse work. China, probably in sheer number, must lead the world.

Here is the thing. Scale. Everyone says scale, but scale of what? There are so many performance criteria that you can optimize for. You can get such high efficiency with greenhouse scale operations that many people stop there. If you go bigger, you are outside, and you will lose more water, ok. So you add panels, but then you might be shading if you do not plan well, and you still lose water from transevaporation.. wind and such. But then you get some electricity and money from utilities.

So, you get diverse methods arising in different climates, or for different purposes.

I am most impressed these days by operations that do not go trumpeting how theirs is the neatest or newest. I like seeing people do things that just earn solid smart profits. There are a lot of people doing that, but you do not hear about them so much. It takes journalism to get those stories, not just press releases.

Particularly in Japan, you get smaller operations solving for the scale that they have and suited to the machinery that they have. Many operations have put their panels on a louver-style setup where they can adjust the incidence/shading of panels to allow appropriate day length, temperatures, etc. It gets pretty complicated, but you can program it for different crops, etc.

Anyway, this is progressing very quickly for specialty crops and operations. There are no particular barriers against doing this. It is just a matter of what you want to optimize.
 
2022-05-29 8:02:28 AM  
Plants don't need full-spectrum natural light.  Those solar panels could be connected edge-to-edge leaving no sunlight beneath them at all, and as along as you put some 600-700nm red LEDs on the underside, the plants would do just fine.

The next step is building the whole thing into a container so you can keep out insects and keep in moisture, and then you can stack 'em since the red LEDs take such a small percentage of available light that one panel can provide light for growing area that's multiple times larger than the panel's surface area.

If you're growing something tall, you're going to need wind or the plant stalks will be inconveniently weak.  Baffles to let the occasional breeze through at the cost of allowing some moisture to escape might be the answer... or maybe add a little wind farm to your solar farm and bleed off a percentage of that to power some fans.

Container farming is a thing, though it's currently mostly in the lab stage, not 'deploy in the real world'.
 
2022-05-29 9:32:11 AM  
Video on Agrivoltaics.
 
2022-05-29 10:41:44 AM  

2fardownthread: Caley talked about her "waist high kale." Um. That is not so great. The problem with plants that grow that big is that they get tougher, harder, bitter, and go to seed. The article is basically a Boulder organic farm that needs a gimmick to sell its plants. So this is it. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. But then come the claims that this is the nation's first, yada yada yada. Ok. So good for them.


It depends on WHY the plant is tall.

What you're describing is called 'bolting' which is when it goes to seed and starts focusing on getting taller.

It's possible that the plant might grow larger leaves before is bolts if it decides that it needs more surface area to gather sun because it's in the shade, and the trade off is worth it.  (It's usually not, because larger leaves in full sun requires more water due to the need for additional evaporative cooling in the heat)

And they claimed to be the nation's biggest.  I don't remember them saying first, but I read it yesterday, so maybe I'm just forgetful.
 
2022-05-29 11:00:34 AM  

Unsung_Hero: Container farming is a thing, though it's currently mostly in the lab stage, not 'deploy in the real world'.


There are a couple of companies manufacturing container farms.  I think at least one of them does it as a leasing thing, so they're still monitoring and maintaining any mechanical systems.  I don't remember if they were the ones working with schools to set the containers there.  (And then the students raise the food for their cafeteria)

I think this was the one: https://www.freightfarms.com/

Also: https://www.lettusgrow.com/container-farmhttps://www.cropbox.cohttps://www.growpodsolutions.comhttps://farmboxfoods.com
 
2022-05-29 11:20:23 AM  

DON.MAC: Part of growing food in the desert was the farmer didn't have to worry about flooded crops.

This looks like the a mid step towards full solar hydroponics except they need lights, more of a greenhouse walls and lots of batteries and the plants end up with less light.

One issue with solar systems these days is the panels aren't the expensive part of the project anymore.  The last pallet I bought was under $.40 per watt.  That farm has the expensive sun trackers and it looked like lots of micro inverters which are better for logging details but cost about the same as the panels.  Price per sq foot of solar panels is less than a decent home floor covering or external commercial building cladding  now.


Heyyyyyy, care to share your favorite suppliers?
 
2022-05-29 11:27:43 AM  

Tired_Mum: DON.MAC: One issue with solar systems these days is the panels aren't the expensive part of the project anymore.  The last pallet I bought was under $.40 per watt.  That farm has the expensive sun trackers and it looked like lots of micro inverters which are better for logging details but cost about the same as the panels.  Price per sq foot of solar panels is less than a decent home floor covering or external commercial building cladding  now.

Heyyyyyy, care to share your favorite suppliers?


Warning:

There was news this past week that many solar installation companies aren't importing panels from SE Asia because they use some Chinese made parts, which might trigger higher tariffs.

(And the US government might hit you with the charge after they finally make their decision)

/can't remember if they weren't sure if the panels qualified in general
//or if they had to evaluate each company to see if they used Chinese parts
 
2022-05-29 11:33:06 AM  

Oneiros: Unsung_Hero: Container farming is a thing, though it's currently mostly in the lab stage, not 'deploy in the real world'.

There are a couple of companies manufacturing container farms.  I think at least one of them does it as a leasing thing, so they're still monitoring and maintaining any mechanical systems.  I don't remember if they were the ones working with schools to set the containers there.  (And then the students raise the food for their cafeteria)

I think this was the one: https://www.freightfarms.com/

Also: https://www.lettusgrow.com/container-farm ; https://www.cropbox.co ; https://www.growpodsolutions.com ; https://farmboxfoods.com


I didn't know the tech was this far along.  The Cropbox one looks particularly interesting.
 
2022-05-29 12:32:08 PM  

Unsung_Hero: I didn't know the tech was this far along.  The Cropbox one looks particularly interesting.


I watch a lot of PBS.

I've seen them featured on a few shows.  It looks like Growing a Greener World covered Grow Pods all the way back on 2011: https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode206/

... but they might not've been selling the pods to other people at that point.  But I think it makes sense in the long run; you have a few companies making the technology and getting some economy of scale, and then shipping them around the country (or world) to other people to operate them.

If you have a density of them in a few areas, then the manufacturer might have local technicians, like how enterprise computer companies (Sun, IBM, etc) had their local first line folks, but also people who could fly in within 24 hours to deal with big problems.
 
2022-05-29 12:33:55 PM  
"Things like greens - arugula, kale, stuff like that - they love it. They love this environment. The kale was waist-high last year," Caley said.

Fark user imageView Full Size


Approves.
 
2022-05-29 12:38:19 PM  

Oneiros: I watch a lot of PBS.


I used to, but eventually I got 'caught up' to the point that your average science doc wasn't telling me enough that I didn't already know to keep me interested.  Then kids came along and I went through them all over again regardless, and caught a few new things in the process.

But the kids are older now, it's been a few years.  I should probably tune in again for a while.  You can't get all your tech news via Fark.
 
2022-05-29 8:02:51 PM  

Oneiros: 2fardownthread: Caley talked about her "waist high kale." Um. That is not so great. The problem with plants that grow that big is that they get tougher, harder, bitter, and go to seed. The article is basically a Boulder organic farm that needs a gimmick to sell its plants. So this is it. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. But then come the claims that this is the nation's first, yada yada yada. Ok. So good for them.

It depends on WHY the plant is tall.

What you're describing is called 'bolting' which is when it goes to seed and starts focusing on getting taller.

It's possible that the plant might grow larger leaves before is bolts if it decides that it needs more surface area to gather sun because it's in the shade, and the trade off is worth it.  (It's usually not, because larger leaves in full sun requires more water due to the need for additional evaporative cooling in the heat)

And they claimed to be the nation's biggest.  I don't remember them saying first, but I read it yesterday, so maybe I'm just forgetful.


Yes. Well. This is kale. I am pretty sure I don't want to eat any kale that is waist high for the same reason I don't want to eat a 300 pound pumpkin, an okra pod that is 10 inches long, or a daikon radish longer than about a foot and a half.

If you grow for size and pith, well, that might be the American way, but generally speaking you want younger leaves, tender shoots, and "right sized pods."

Yes. I was describing bolting. Colorado, at about this time, has lucked out by having the late snows, and I am sure that the kale loved it. But pretty soon now, it is going to get really hot and that kale will have a Colorado summer to die in. Sun or no, it will just be too hot and dry. Kale is a cool sunny plant.

I am skeptical when someone claims that x is "worth it." As I said above, optimization using many criteria is not a simple thing. This is the problem with "claims." Why is a person making a claim? To gain publicity? To sell something? People who are making a system work profitably seldom make claims. And many claims I have seen reported by wide eyed fanatics I have seen are false or misleading. I wish I could just be optimistic. Unfortunately, being skeptical works better for "green claims" I have come across in the last decade or so.
 
2022-05-29 9:39:44 PM  

Tired_Mum: DON.MAC: Part of growing food in the desert was the farmer didn't have to worry about flooded crops.

This looks like the a mid step towards full solar hydroponics except they need lights, more of a greenhouse walls and lots of batteries and the plants end up with less light.

One issue with solar systems these days is the panels aren't the expensive part of the project anymore.  The last pallet I bought was under $.40 per watt.  That farm has the expensive sun trackers and it looked like lots of micro inverters which are better for logging details but cost about the same as the panels.  Price per sq foot of solar panels is less than a decent home floor covering or external commercial building cladding  now.

Heyyyyyy, care to share your favorite suppliers?


The last few pallets have been from Canadian Solar but I don't have to pay any of the US's "Free Trade" tariffs.
 
2022-05-29 10:12:39 PM  

2fardownthread: Yes. Well. This is kale. I am pretty sure I don't want to eat any kale that is waist high for the same reason I don't want to eat a 300 pound pumpkin, an okra pod that is 10 inches long, or a daikon radish longer than about a foot and a half.

If you grow for size and pith, well, that might be the American way, but generally speaking you want younger leaves, tender shoots, and "right sized pods."


I'm open to possibilities here.

Many of the vegetables that have been grown for size or quantity have underwhelming flavor and worse nutrition.  Odds are the nutrition will hold true, but if the flavor holds true, too, it might mean less bitter kale.

I have no idea if the toughness of the plant is some sort of a defense against harsh light (reducing moisture loss), so maybe it would be more tender, too.
 
2022-05-29 11:27:42 PM  

Oneiros: 2fardownthread: Yes. Well. This is kale. I am pretty sure I don't want to eat any kale that is waist high for the same reason I don't want to eat a 300 pound pumpkin, an okra pod that is 10 inches long, or a daikon radish longer than about a foot and a half.

If you grow for size and pith, well, that might be the American way, but generally speaking you want younger leaves, tender shoots, and "right sized pods."

I'm open to possibilities here.

Many of the vegetables that have been grown for size or quantity have underwhelming flavor and worse nutrition.  Odds are the nutrition will hold true, but if the flavor holds true, too, it might mean less bitter kale.

I have no idea if the toughness of the plant is some sort of a defense against harsh light (reducing moisture loss), so maybe it would be more tender, too.


Yeah! What is my beef anyway? I think it is the claims. The shoehorning of something rather than a good practical application. I am just being picky. Yay solar and all that, but it looks weird to me. It is a very Boulder article.

I had a long comment about performance criteria, better ways to save water, growing crops suited to environmental conditions, and better ways to apply solar PV. But what is the use? The article was written to focus attention on this person's high fixed costs and how they will have to be recouped from customers who care more about the process than the product.
 
2022-05-29 11:42:45 PM  

DON.MAC: Tired_Mum: DON.MAC: Part of growing food in the desert was the farmer didn't have to worry about flooded crops.

This looks like the a mid step towards full solar hydroponics except they need lights, more of a greenhouse walls and lots of batteries and the plants end up with less light.

One issue with solar systems these days is the panels aren't the expensive part of the project anymore.  The last pallet I bought was under $.40 per watt. That farm has the expensive sun trackers and it looked like lots of micro inverters which are better for logging details but cost about the same as the panels.  Price per sq foot of solar panels is less than a decent home floor covering or external commercial building cladding  now.

Heyyyyyy, care to share your favorite suppliers?

The last few pallets have been from Canadian Solar but I don't have to pay any of the US's "Free Trade" tariffs.


It is good information to have. I have SE facing panels on one installation, which means that I have a NW facing roof on the other side AND I have electricity production that peters out at about 1--3 pm. I have thought about installing about 10 panels, maybe 20, facing NW just to give me production through to 4--7 pm. The inverters can handle the input too, so I do not even need new ones.

So the only expense is the panels, wiring to the inverters, and installation.

I can't get to breakeven in 10 years. Winter at high latitude takes output almost to zero. And output for only 4 or 5 hours a day in summer does not get me over the hump.

This is topical because I am building a greenhouse there, and might put panels there instead. I am still thinking about the number and arrangement.
 
2022-05-29 11:49:33 PM  
For anyone interested in how these smaller scale specialty growers have their operations set up, there are a ton of YouTube videos on them. There are a lot of special equipment setups, with hydroponics, LED lighting, etc.

Lettuces and leafy vegetables can be extremely productive, and local markets have bought more and more product, which keeps getting produced cheaper and cheaper.

Some of the more interesting ones to me are the ones that have gone full greenhouse production, with peppers and tomatoes in addition to the leafy veg. They just keep expanding the markets and increasing efficiency.

What is fascinating to me is that this is happening in and around big cities. The vegetarian market is transforming agriculture by bringing a lot of it inside, closer to urban areas, and hypercharging its efficiencies.
 
2022-05-30 5:02:10 AM  

2fardownthread: The inverters can handle the input too, so I do not even need new ones.


How old are your old panels and inverter?  The new solar panels will run up to 1,200V (1,000 is more common) and they do about 450 watts per each 2 sq meters now.  Each panel should only be about 48V so 10 is 480v if your system can't cope with that, you get two strings of 240v which might be too low to work well.  8 panels from last year make about 43 watts once the sky looks blue in the morning.  Shading a single cell still takes out a 1/4 of a panel but there are options to help with that now that too.
 
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