Lightweight solar for agricultural water reservoirs – pv magazine International

The Genap Energy Cover uses HyET Solar Powerfoil thin-film solar modules, rated at 12.0% efficiency, for agricultural water storage and reservoirs, with an initial focus on the greenhouse and energy markets. horticulture in the Netherlands. Genap said a 12 kWp test configuration had a generation density of 60 W/m2, increasing to 120 W/m2 within a year, with an eventual target of 165 W/m2.

Floating PV has added significant generation to large scale water bodies. Now, a new lightweight solution built on closed water covers can bring solar generation to C&I growers with water reservoirs.

Genap is a 70-year-old company – based in Arnhem, the Netherlands – specializing in membrane solutions for water storage in agriculture. This week it presented its Genap Energy Cover at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. It is working with another Arnhem-based flexible PV panel manufacturer, HyET Solar, to bond thin-film flexible panels to the membrane.

The modules used are HyET Solar PowerFoil 115 modules, manufactured to custom lengths for the cover. Each module is glued in place. Lightweight polystyrene is placed between the module and the cover to act as a float.

Chretien Hendriks, Business Development Director of Genap, said photo magazine that the idea came from the lack of available land and the efficiency advantages of lower operating temperatures for solar on water.

“Currently, the payback period is around eight years, with the goal of reducing it to five to six years. But the normal covers we sell have a 15-year warranty,” Hendriks said. “We are also looking at ways to remove already pasted modules for reuse on new covers.”

The company’s novel use of membranes and thin-film solar earned it a finalist spot in Fruit Logistica’s 2022 Innovation Awards. Oddly in competition with an onion that doesn’t cause tears, a cauliflower with an edible stalk, a new type of tomato and other food innovations, the Genap Energy Cover offers tangible benefits for places where earths are scarce, while adding conventional prevention against algae and evaporation.

Initially, the target market is local, focusing on water storage for agricultural and floristic greenhouses in the Netherlands. A pilot was placed on a tank at Wageningen University and Research in Bleiswijk in September 2021. The installation measures approximately 35 meters by 12 meters, with an overall output of 12 kWp.

Hendriks said increasing yield is a key goal. “The first generation of these panels in the test configuration was around 60 W/m2, increasing to 120 W/m2 within a year. And in the end, we aim for around 165W/m2. This is our first design and we believe we can optimize and increase the percentage of [membrane] which is covered in slightly higher PV – we would like to move to 90% full float coverage. »

Genap expects to release the energy coverage in the third quarter of 2022. Hendriks asserted that the capital cost of Genap’s floating and flexible PV solution is “less than half the cost of other floating PV solutions currently available.” Maintenance is simplified with the retractable plastic sheet cover, without the heavy infrastructure of fixed panels, he said. No fouling issues were noted, as there are wires to deter birds.

Hendriks also noted that a rooftop configuration is also under consideration with the High yield Energy Technologies (HyET) group, which was recently majority acquired by Australian company Fortescue Future Industies. HyET helps with weight-limited roofs that cannot support the heavy structures of fixed modules.

“We’re doing an innovation right now with HyET Solar, which is their modules glued to our sheets, with cables already built in,” Hendriks said. “We will stretch them and the membrane on existing roofs, for roofs that cannot have too much weight for conventional frame structures and glass panels. This is a lightweight roofing solution that we are working on.

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