See-Through Solar Panels
is still in the embryonic phase, but researchers believe it could be an energy-neutral way to power greenhouses, because the wavelengths of light, that enable photosynthesis for plants, are separate from the wavelengths, needed to create energy.
In other words, these solar panels
could facilitate, both, growing and power generation.
Plants only use some wavelengths of light, for photosynthesis, and the idea is to create greenhouses, that make energy from that unused light, while allowing most of the photosynthetic band of light to pass through.
The researchers developed the model to estimate energy use, for greenhouses growing tomatoes, at locations in Arizona, North Carolina
, and Wisconsin.
For example, in Arizona, the greenhouses could become energy neutral (requiring no outside source of power) while blocking only 10% of the photosynthetic band of light. However, if growers are willing to block more photosynthetic light, they could generate twice as much energy as they required to operate the greenhouse.
In North Carolina
, a greenhouse could become energy neutral while blocking 20% of the photosynthetic light.
In Wisconsin, greenhouses couldn’t become energy neutral using the semitransparent solar
cells, because keeping the greenhouse warm in winter requires too much energy. However, the solar cells could meet up to 46% of the greenhouse’s energy demand.
“Achieving Net Zero Energy Greenhouses by Integrating Semitransparent Organic Solar Cells”
~ by Eshwar Ravishankar et al.