FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Source data
Type Paper
Year 2023
Location London, ON, Canada
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Masna, S., Morse, S.M., Hayibo, K.S., Pearce, J.M., 2023. The potential for fencing to be used as low-cost solar photovoltaic racking. Solar Energy 253, 30–46. academia open access
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Status Designed
Verified by FAST
Replicated No
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Popular agrivoltaic systems use photovoltaic (PV) farms for pasture grazing animals. In general, these agrivoltaic systems do not reduce the capital cost of a PV farm and in some cases can increase it. To overcome this challenge this study investigates the potential for retrofitting existing animal fencing on farms to have dual use for vertical-mounted monofacial PV racking. Specifically, this study catalogs types of fences and wind load calculations classified under Risk Category I are run through a new python-based Open Source Wind Load Calculator to determine the viability of fence-based racking throughout the U.S. The base shear force for all the fences are calculated for a range of wind loads from 80mph to 150mph (129 km/h to 241 km/h) and the results are mapped to indicate the number of PV modules between the vertical fence poles a fence can tolerate in a specific location. The results show the required fence type including post and battens in a given area for sheep, goats, pigs, cows, and alpaca to be used for agrivoltaics. Overall, at least one PV module between posts is acceptable indicating a new agrivoltaic system potential that as little as $0.035/kWh for racking on existing fencing. Although the yield for a vertical PV can range from 20 to 76 % of an optimized tilt angle depending on azimuth, the racking cost savings enable fence-retrofit agrivoltaics to often produce lower levelized cost electricity. Future work is necessary to determine the full scope of benefits of vertical PV agricultural fencing on a global scale.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

Racking, Frugal engineering, Wind loading, Local materials,Agrivoltaics, fencing; vertical;Sustainable development; Open-source; Photovoltaic; solar energy; balance of systems; renewable energy; do-it-yourself

Open source software[edit | edit source]

Highlights[edit | edit source]

  • Retrofitting animal fencing for dual use for vertical-mounted monofacial PV racking.
  • Python-based Open Source Wind Load Calculator used for viability throughout the U.S.
  • Base shear force mapped for all fences for wind loads from 80 mph to 150.
  • Agrivoltaic system potential that as little as $0.035/kWh for racking on existing fencing.
  • Racking cost savings make fence-retrofit agrivoltaics a promising new technology.

See also[edit | edit source]

Services provided by agrivoltaics are: renewable electricity generation, decreased green-house gas emissions, reduced climate change, increased crop yield, plant protection from excess solar energy, plant protection from inclement weather such as hail, water conservation, agricultural employment, local food, improved health from pollution reduction increased revenue for farmers, a hedge against inflation, the potential to produce nitrogen fertilizer on farm, on farm production of renewable fuels such as anhydrous ammonia or hydrogen, and electricity for EV charging for on- or off-farm use.
Agrivoltaics Canada - What is Agrivoltaics

In the News[edit source]

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