A Surface Energy Balance Model for Agrivoltaic Applications in Arid Regions

  • Isabela Lima Walter

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The co-location of photovoltaics (PV) and agriculture - Agrivoltaic (APV) system - is an economically viable solution to address the land competition between two distinct productions and simultaneously maximize energy harvesting and agricultural yield. APVs are expected to possess the greatest results in arid regions where the solar resource is potential and there is a need for marginal land regeneration and improvements in food production. Particularly, APV systems can modify surface heat fluxes by increasing latent heat flux and consequently reducing sensible heat flux, which is expected to enhance PV panels' performance and boost crop productivity. This thesis simulates dynamical Agrivoltaic Energy Balance (APV-EB) to assess the potential of conventional photovoltaic technology compared with its performance in the bare soil scenario. The model is parameterized for the UAE's characteristic climatic conditions. One of the significant limiting climatic factors that compromise photovoltaic performance in arid and desertic regions is extreme heat, which this project will focus on. The study concluded that the PV natural cooling from crops under the panels in an APV setup could be a valuable addition to improve PV thermal behavior and, consequently, power yield.
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageAmerican English


  • Agrivoltaic
  • photovoltaic
  • crop
  • quinoa
  • energy balance
  • sensible heat
  • latent heat
  • evapotranspiration
  • power.

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