Companies Collaborate on Development of Agrivoltaic Modules for Greenhouses
UbiQD, Inc., which specializes in nanomaterials innovation, and Heliene Inc., a provider of North-American-made solar modules, recently began joint development of a project to embed UbiGro sunlight-optimizing technology in Heliene’s photovoltaic modules.
The panels would be ‘agrivoltaics’ – both generating electricity and allowing light to pass through for greenhouse growing, according to a news release from the companies.
The companies further explained the concept in the news release:
“‘Agrivoltaics’ is an emerging agriculture product category at the intersection of food and energy, wherein crop production and electricity production occur simultaneously and in the same area. For a greenhouse, this means allowing a large portion of the sunlight to pass through to the crop below, with the remaining portion being converted into solar power. This tradeoff between sunlight for crop growth and sunlight for electricity generation motivates investment in light spectrum optimization in order to grow plants as efficiently as possible. Optimizing the quality of sunlight is exactly what UbiGro technology is designed to do, by converting direct UV/blue light from the sun’s spectrum into an orange/red glow that improves plant growth.”
Martin Pochtaruk, CEO of Heliene, said in a news release that rising energy costs could change how greenhouses do business.
“Greenhouses and photovoltaics generate hundreds of billions of dollars of value from sunlight, and our plan is that with our agrivoltaic modules, the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts,” Pochtaruk said.
Hunter McDaniel, Founder and CEO of UbiQD, said project was a good match for the two companies’ respective strengths.
“UbiQD has been developing electricity-generating windows for a number of years, and we offer a line of greenhouse film products for boosting crop yield,” McDaniel said.
Above, a quantum dot glass prototype is held aloft by a UbiQD Engineer. Photo credit: UbiQD, Inc.