Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 13

Solar Greenhouse to Produce Food and Electricity

Posted in Future Technology | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

Solar Greenhouse Imagine a greenhouse that is producing solar power and food too. This excellent experiment is being done in Italy. The companies responsible for this project are Renewable energy company Solar ReFeel, CeRSAA and solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. The test site has been constructed at CeRSAA’s Albenga, Italy. The project intends to attain the production of both food and electricity. The research team also wants to validate the crop growth benefits of Solyndra’s technology by taking help of independent testing by a leading agricultural research institution.

The project region is spread over an area of 400 square meters at the CeRSAA research center. At this unique building, Solyndra’s photovoltaic systems have been incorporated into the greenhouse structures. Solyndra is going for an exclusive cylindrical technology (see video above). This technology helps in capturing direct, diffused, and reflected sunlight across a 360 degree surface and at the same time permitting a uniform transmission of light for the plants underneath.

The study will focus on the production of numerous crops common in the Mediterranean region. They will observe, measure and evaluate these crops which are grown under the greenhouse structures with the integrated solar system. This project will quantify and compare the yield and the expected benefit for crops grown under Solyndra’s new, integrated greenhouse structures with same crops grown in usual greenhouses.

The time span of this project will be 24 months. During this period all the partners will provide their expertise to this project. CeRSAA, special agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Savona, will take care of the design and implementation of agricultural studies as per its specialization. CeRSAA will also be responsible for technical and human resources. Solyndra is the United States based producer of solar systems. It had supplied the greenhouse framework and photovoltaic components. Solyndra has also supervised the construction of the test site. Enerqos Group is a leader in the design and implementation of PV systems in Italy. They are providing installation support and electrical contracting.

Solar ReFeel has specialization in both the ground-mounted and rooftop photovoltaic plants. Solar ReFeel is coordinating the research amongst the involved parties. Solar ReFeel will share the research findings. They also intend to cash in on the successful products.

The goal of the study is to fully understand and take advantage of the extraordinary potential of greenhouse integrated solar power development as a long-term, substantial business model.

  • Barrie Potter

    I have plans to replace my existing (purely domestic) greenhouse with a larger one; I would also be interested in looking at photovoltaics to generate electricity. I would be interested to learn more about this technology, as would, no doubt, others who do not have sufficient roof space for a significant PV installation.

  • Tom

    As I walk around my neighborhood I notice many rooftop solar designs — (maybe from the 80’s) that are no longer maintained or functioning — It seems there has not been a very good small home system developed that the general public will invest in — I wonder why? Is it the younger generations laziness or is there a lack of readily affordable rooftop tech? I keep waiting to find something in the 2-10 thousand range that would justify going solar with and it just eludes me — On another note, why can’t roof shingles be made into simple solar collectors when new roofs are put on? Is the answer always cost? Seems like commercial buildings could really profit from the immense surface area many of those flat roofs could be generating — oh well maybe I am asking too much…

  • Tom

    Anybody have some good suggestions for modest consumer use?

  • Dan Chance

    This is a great concept especially for those who want to retire from modern world and live entirely independently of the larger society. Imagine food and energy on the same resource of land. Wow.

  • Brent

    This company has no system statistic, weight, cost, wattages with sizes, there needs to be information, i know about 360 degree absorption have for some time.

  • Sarika Bhatt

    Hi Barrie,

    I’m not sure if you’ve already replaced your existing greenhouse. But thought if you were interested in a solar and wind powered greenhouse you should check out This technology was recognized by World Bank’s Global Development Market as one of the 100 ideas to save the planet. The company is doing excellent work in third world countries.

    Hope you find it helpful.

  • Barrie Potter

    Hi Sarika,

    Thanks for the comments. I’m UK based, so unfortunately these people are a bit far away, but I’ll keep looking

  • Sarika Bhatt

    Hi Barrie,

    You’re welcome! I hope you had a chance to look over the site. By the way, they deliver all over the world.

  • Justin

    To Tom: There is a company in San Diego that is making a roofing shingle very similar to asphalt shingles.

  • tom

    Thanks justin — Do you have any personal experience with their product?

  • Chris

    To Barrie,
    There’s a company based in Brighton, UK, that does what you seem to be after: New Horizons Solar

    And to Brent,
    Try their website:
    But unfortunately no cost there.

  • Anton Stolbov

    Greetings! I’ve noticed you have a dead link on this page ( Konarka has gone out of business). So I was wondering if you would like to replace it with a wiki article I’m currently fixing up to be more informative. It’s on Eurosolar, German Non-Profit green organisation with a lot of history in European green energy business, It would help out a lot, and it’s something to have there until you can find something else to replace it with.

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you are having a great day

    Link to the wiki page :

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