California greenhouse to integrate clear-glass photovoltaics

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System USA, a greenhouse operator, announced it has signed a contract to have ClearVue install its clear solar glass on its greenhouse.

The solar glass will provide approximately 82 kW of solar power, producing an estimated 107,000 kWh annually. The project is expected save the company in annual operating costs and reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.

ClearVue’s single-pane laminate glazing was developed in partnership with D2Solar.

The company uses nano- and micro-particle technology to internally diffuse, redistribute and reflect elements of incoming light towards the edges of its clear glass panel, where it is collected by monocrystalline silicon PV modules. The modules are placed into a circuit, which is designed to collect energy rays from multiple directions.

The California project build on previous solar greenhouse projects, including the Murdoch University R&D Greenhouse in Perth, Australia, operational since 2021. It also installed solar glass at the Sendai Ignis resort in Japan via its licensee Tomita Technologies.

At the test installation in Perth, daily average energy production is near 1.6 kWh generated by about 25 square meters of solar windows. The installation produced about 500 kWh over the course of a year of operations from 2019 to 2020. The company said a 1000 square meter installation could produce about 70 kWh per day.

Image: ClearVue

“Greenhouses have been an integral part of our strategy from day one as we understood the growing global need for renewable energy solutions for sustainable agriculture,” said Martin Deil, chief executive officer, ClearVue Technologies. “We are thrilled to work in partnership with System USA, a company setting the modern global standard for excellence in efficient greenhouse facilities.”

ClearVue PV technology uses an activated interlayer, sandwiched within a panel composed of two or three glass panes, some of which are coated with specialized thin-films. The solar glazing is covered with a low-emissivity coating.

The design allows for PV production without sacrificing maximum natural daylighting for the crops below. The color rendering index (CRI) of the windows is as high as 99%, leading to an unaltered color rendering or appearance of all objects behind the ClearVue glass, said the company.

ClearVue said its technology can lead to up to 32.5% savings in energy costs when compared to conventional single-glazing greenhouse paneling.

Image: ClearVue

“ClearVue glass also has the potential to add efficiency to automobiles, public transport, agriculture and mobile electronic devices,” said the company.

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