Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-418
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
27 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Rain concentration and sheltering effect of solar panels on cultivated plots
Yassin Elamri1,2, Bruno Cheviron1, Annabelle Mange1, Cyril Dejean1, François Liron1, and Gilles Belaud3 1IRSTEA/UMR G-Eau, 361 rue Jean-François Breton 34136 Montpellier, France
2Sun'R sas, 41 quai Fulchiron 69005 Lyon, France
3Montpellier SupAgro/UMR G-Eau, 2 place Pierre Viala 34060 Montpellier, France
Abstract. Agrivoltaism is the association of agricultural and photovoltaic energy production on the same land area, coping with the increasing pressure on land use and water resources while delivering a clean and renewable energy. However the solar panels located above the cultivated plots also have a seemingly unexplored yet effect on rain redistribution, sheltering large parts of the plot but redirecting concentrated fluxes on a few locations. The spatial heterogeneity in water amounts observed on the ground is high in the general case; its dynamical patterns are directly attributable to the mobile panels through their geometrical characteristics (dimensions, height, coverage percentage) and the strategies selected to rotate them around their support tube. A coefficient of variation is used to measure this spatial heterogeneity and to compare it with the coefficient of uniformity that classically describes the efficiency of irrigation systems. A rain redistribution model (AVrain) was derived from literature elements and theoretical grounds then validated from experiments in both field and controlled conditions. AVrain simulates the effective rain amounts on the plot from a few forcing data (rainfall, wind velocity and direction) thus allows real-time strategies that consist in operating the panels so as to limit rain interception mainly responsible for the spatial heterogeneities. Such avoidance strategies resulted in a sharp decrease of the coefficient of variation, e.g. 0.22 against 2.13 for panels held flat during one of the monitored rain events, that is a fairly good uniformity score for irrigation specialists. Finally, the water amounts predicted by AVrain were used as inputs to HYDRUS-2D for a brief exploratory study on the impact of the presence of solar panels on rain redistribution at shallow depths within soils : similar, more diffuse patterns were simulated and coherent with field measurements.

Citation: Elamri, Y., Cheviron, B., Mange, A., Dejean, C., Liron, F., and Belaud, G.: Rain concentration and sheltering effect of solar panels on cultivated plots, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-418, in review, 2017.
Yassin Elamri et al.
Yassin Elamri et al.
Yassin Elamri et al.

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Short summary
Agrivoltaism is the association of agricultural and photovoltaic energy production on the same land area, coping with the increasing pressure on land use and water resources while delivering a clean and renewable energy. This paper shows how to operate the tilting-angle solar panels tested above the cultivated plots, to remedy the often unexplored rain redistribution issues, by which large parts of the plot are sheltered whereas concentrated fluxes are redirected on a few locations.
Agrivoltaism is the association of agricultural and photovoltaic energy production on the same...
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