Transparent Solar Panel Technology for Energy Autonomous Greenhouses
According to United Nations, the world population will reach to 9.7 billion by 2050. Food, energy and water are three critical resources that must be managed for mankind to thrive. With these figures, a 70-100% increase of food supply will be needed to maintain the current nutrition levels. Greenhouse farming is a solution to the worldwide food demands as it increases the food production per acre up to 100% compared to open field agriculture. However, Greenhouse farming also implies both strong energy cost and emissions of greenhouse gases. Indeed, agriculture production accounts for 14% of energy demand, 70% of water usage and 11% of greenhouse emissions globally. In addition, certain crops or specific varieties of crops cannot grow in a cost-efficient way in greenhouse agriculture while all available solar energy solutions inherently conflict with cultivation since both photosynthesis and PVs depend on sunlight availability.
Brite Solar has developed PanePower Solar Window (SW). PanePowerSW is a unique transparent (80%) solar glass that generates clean energy through PV technology and more importantly allows the light to shine through it, making it suitable for applications such as greenhouses. PanePowerSW contributes in reducing the energy operating costs in greenhouses from 25-28% to near zero depending on climate conditions. The technology enables the growth of almost any kind of crop in a cost-efficient way. Our company has won grants from SME Instrument (Phase 1 and Phase 2), which enabled the technology of PanePowerSW to reach a TRL of 7.