Our Agro-photovoltaic concept
It is Next2Sun GmbH´s goal to add a new component for the generation of electricity from solar radiation to the energy revolution. Due to the consistent, vertical east-west orientation, peak loads can be reached in the morning and evening hours – counter-cyclically to the existing south-facing plants. This is beneficial for electricity grid stability and enables plants using the Next2Sun-concept to be connected to grid branches that are already operating at full capacity and higher revenues on the electricity exchange. Variable row spacings of at least 8 meters allow agriculture and energy production side by side.
The careful use of the resource soil leads to a high level of acceptance. The linear structures and the low degree of overbuilding create valuable natural grass areas in which specific habitat structures can also be established. In addition to agricultural use, the large spaces between rows also offer scope for agri-environmental or compensatory measures.
The solid steel construction consists of mullions and crossbeams. Two mullions and three crossbeams hold two vertically stacked bifacial glass-glass modules. The total height of the bifacial mounting system can ﬂexibly be modiﬁed and usually has a height of about 3 meters above the ground. The frame design is developed for an easy and ﬂexible mounting as well as a long lifetime. Combined with the glass-glass modules used in the system, this leads to a very long lifetime for the whole system. It is designed for high strength requirements, especially resulting from wind loads.
The goal of Next2Sun GmbH is to add a new component for the generation of electricity from solar radiation to the energy revolution. The main idea behind our plant concept is the vertical installation of specific solar panels which utilize light from both sides (“bifacial” modules). The two sides of the modules are facing East and West, leading to a peak in energy generation during mid-morning and in the evening. Depending on the bifacial module in use, 5% to 15% higher electricity yields (kWh/kWp) can be achieved. This means that Next2Sun plants are already one step ahead of classical south-facing plants in terms of technical additional yields.
Supporting feed-in profiles
The Next2Sun freestanding system adds a new generation profile to the energy revolution. Through a consequent vertical east-west orientation, power peaks can be reached in the morning and evening hours – countercyclical to southern-orientated PV-plants. This relieves the electricity grids, especially those in lower voltage levels and enables the connection of new plants to saturated grids.
The feed-in profile of the Next2Sun system congruently matches the daily curve of the electricity price on the electricity exchange. Hence, our photovoltaic system benefits directly from market situation: due to the electricity prices typically being lower at noon and higher in the morning and in evening hours, systems using the Next2Sun-concept reach higher average revenues. In practice, we currently achieve 5% to 10% higher market profits compared to conventional PV-plants. Combined with the higher profits on the electricity market, the revenue per kW of installed system performance rises by up to 25%!
Agriculture and Livestock Farming
Variable row spacings of at least 8 meters enables versatile agricultural utilization concepts. Furthermore, the freestanding system is suitable for grazing cattle, sheep or chickens. The considerate handling of the resource soil leads to high acceptance. The Next2Sun concept achieves an appropriate balance between agriculture and electricity production of sun power. Up to 90% of the solar park area can still be used for agricultural purposes. The space of at least 8 meters between rows enables the use of conventional agriculture machinery, securing efficient work management. This further reduces “excessive land consumption”. Primarily the plant area is suitable for all types of grassland utilization:
- Meadows used for hay or silage
- Pasture farming (cattle, sheep, etc.)
- Biomass and material use
- Arable land is also possible but more difficult to implement
Depending on the type of use, the machinery used for farming as well as the photovoltaic plant itself will be technically adjusted to enable optimal use of the area. (Examples: protection against stone chipping or protection against cable bites in pasture farming).
Environment, Nature and Sustainability
Due to the linear structures and the low degree of overbuilding, high-quality natural grass areas are created in which specific habitat structures can be established in addition. In addition to agricultural use, the large spaces between rows also offer scope for agri-environmental or compensatory measures. Due to the vertical arrangement of the module areas, the value of the ground area is hardly affected:
- Insignificant level of overbuilding: less than 1% of the ground surface, no sealing, no foundation
- Almost unchanged water supply: no change in the distribution of rainfall
- Only minor changes in insolation: just about 10% to 15% of the annual solar radiation is being used by the photovoltaic plant
This results in very low influence on the vegetation growth. Thus, habitats can be created on either whole plant area or parts of it, as well. Habitats, which have become very rare in today’s monotone agriculture landscape can be created:
- Grass and flower strips, e.g. for insects and butterflies
- Deadwood areas, e.g. for birds, fungi and beetles
- Piles of stones, e.g. for reptiles
In addition to linear habitat structures, flat habitat structures such as wildflower meadows can be created on the entire park area or on partial areas. The system concept thus allows for the specific project and site requirements to be met.
While the optical long-distance effects are comparable to conventional photovoltaic plants, the appearance at close range is less technically characterized as there are no module back panels with visible junction boxes and cables. The low overbuilding is a huge advantage especially for birds, as seen from the bird’s-eye view the ground surface remains almost completely open.
Furthermore, dazzle effects outside of the solar plant are almost impossible as any reflections of the vertical constructions due to physics can only go to the ground.