Ever heard of algovoltaics? Enel is testing it for applications on large solar plants – pv magazine International

Nicola Rossi, Head of Innovation at Enel Green Power, told pv magazine how the company intends to combine the cultivation of microalgae with the generation of solar energy. The integration scheme aims to minimize disruption to the PV system and maximize the benefits of the microalgae yield

May 26, 2021

The Italian renewable energy company Enel Green Power, a unit of the national energy company Enel, is working with the Italian research agency ENEA to develop what it calls innovative technology that combines photovoltaic power generation with microalgae cultivation.

“The PV system will be a floor-mounted PV system that will represent the conventional layout for supply-scale systems, and the integration into the microalgae system is designed so that the layout of the PV system is not changed,” said Nicola Rossi, Head from iInnovation at Enel Green Power, said pv magazine. “The cultivation of microalgae is carried out in a special system.”

The integration scheme aims to minimize disruption to the PV system and maximize the benefits of the microalgae yield. “Currently we do not expect any deviations in the PV system layout and the associated support structures in line with our agrivoltaic approach, which aims to adapt agriculture to the existing PV layout in order to avoid rising electricity generation costs,” he explained.

The pilot project is being used in the Enea-Portici trial area near Naples. The aim of the test is to evaluate the interference between solar energy generation and microalgae yield. “The PV size will be around 7 kW and the tests will be done with mono and bifacial panels,” explained Rossi.

Regarding the type of algae to be cultivated at the facility, he added that they are high quality products such as Acutodesmus obliquus and Nannochloropsis gaditana, both of which have a commercial value of around € 150 / kg or Haematococcus pluvialis. whose commercial value can reach up to 205 € / kg.

“With this agreement we are starting a new possible synergy for the common use of the land that we have identified with our brand ‘Algovoltaik’. This is an ideal opportunity for the agrivoltaic sector, where we are investing significant resources to implement the guidelines in the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan, ”said Ezio Terzini, Head of Photovoltaics and Smart Devices in ENEA’s Renewable Technologies Division Energies.

A scalability analysis is being carried out for applications in large photovoltaic systems, Enel Green Power said in a statement released last week.

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