Solar Thermal Agriculture with Bifacial Collectors for Farming Synergies

Against the background of the competition for space, bifacial Agri-photovoltaic systems were developed to combine power production with farming (cf. Agri-PV systems; Next2Sun). A solar thermal implementation of this bifacial system concept does not yet exist. The aim of the project is to accelerate the development and commercialisation of this innovative renewable heating technology that enables new ways for implementing solar thermal (ST) heating systems in Europe by 2030. This will be achieved by developing a bifacial ST plant as a novel solar heating technology. The scientific goal is to determine whether bifacial insulating glass collectors can be used to solve the problem of limited land availability for renewable heating technologies. The focus is on Agri-ST applications as these promise significant synergies for landowners/farmers, producers, installers, operators and municipalities. The core technological objective is to adapt the collector design to enable bifacial operation and to design, install and analyse an Agri-ST demonstration plant to determine the implementation potential and increase commercial readiness of this novel system. This essentially adds innovations to the focal area ‘climate-neutral thermal energy resources’ and creates synergies with the cross-cutting topics of agriculture and citizen participation. In that way, the project offers a new solution to the problem of land scarcity and contributes to innovation-based growth of the European economy.