Post Date
Mar 4 2024

Harnessing Solar Energy for Crops through Agrivoltaics

Dr. Nauman Zaffar Butt in the Electrical Engineering department leads our efforts on photovoltaics which has now crossed over into the realm of agriculture, to produce the budding field of agrivoltaics. Powering agricultural farms through solar energy requires creative designs in both the solar cells as well as how solar cells will be integrated into a solar system that can power agri-farms.

Dr. Butt's PhD student Hassan Imran has now produced an amazing body of work that helps achieve both of these tasks. Novel materials, novel designs of the heterofacial structure of solar cells and employing two-dimensional layers of graphene or carbon nano-tubes can boost the performance of solar cells, achieving almost thermodynamically maximum efficiencies. Creative ways to interface silicon based and organic-inorganic solar cell technologies helps achieve the best of both worlds.

Finally, Hassan has mathematically modeled the role of soil and orientation of solar panels, in achieving high efficiency crop yield from solar enhanced farmlands. This work has immense implications for the country which calls for innovative solutions to address critical problems at the food-energy-water confluence.

The quality of his work is evidenced by the four articles published in the world's leading journal on this topic:

The Water-Food-Energy nexus remains one of the six forefront areas being pursued at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering.