Project Title:

Rear concentrator photovoltaic bifacial module for agrivoltaics



Funding body:

Ministry of Science and Innovation, State Investigation Agency (AEI)


Proyectos de transición ecológica y transición digital 2021, Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2021-2023.





Photovoltaics (PV) has positioned as an ideal renewable energy (RE) source to boost the much needed ecological transition, due to its competitive price, flexibility, and positive impact on job creation and environment. However, it also presents some drawbacks. In particular, the expected PV capacity in the EU and Spain will be, respectively, around 200GWp and around 30GWp by 2030. This will require a large amount of land, around 400000ha in EU and 60000ha in Spain (twice the greenhouse area of Almeria). Hence, this is major challenge as PV may come in competence with the agriculture and biodiversity.

Agrivoltaics (APV) has emerged as one of the most promising solution to alleviate the land-use competition between energy and food production and to increase land use efficiency. APV consists of the combination of PV power generation and agricultural activities on the same land. The technology has attracted a growing interest within the last years and the installed nominal capacity has experienced an exponential growth from barely 5 MWp in 2012 to around 2.8 GWp at the end of 2020. The potential of APV to contribute the ecological transition and increase the resilience of the EU and Spanish agriculture and energy sectors is huge. Indeed, it has been estimated that the global energy demand could be offset even if less than 1% of the croplands were converted into APV.

Despite its potential, APV is still in a learning stage and important efforts are needed for developing PV technologies specially adapted to agriculture applications. In this sense, a suitable APV technology should consider key features directly related to plants growing, namely: a) Light intensity (PV modules introduce shading on the plants), b) Light uniformity (PV modules could affect the light spatial distribution on the plants), and c) Light spectral distribution (PV modules could affect the spectrum on the absorption waveband of the crops). Taking this into account, several transparent PV (TPV) technologies such as thin-film (e.g. a-Si, Dye-sensitized, CdTe or Perovskite), organic and concentrator are being investigated. Nowadays, c-Si-based TPV is the reference technology due to its matureness, efficiency, low degradation and cost. However, it has the inconvenient of the low light quality, as is based on the interspacing of opaque c-Si solar cells that introduces a high non-uniformity on the crops.

RearCPVbif project aims to develop a novel high-transparent PV technology specially adapted to agrivoltais. The technology is based on a new configuration made up of rear back low-concentrators and bifacial solar cells to increase the relative efficiency of current technology within 150%-200%, improve the light quality that falls on the plants, the thermal performance and reduce the cost.