North American solar module manufacturer Heliene Inc. is teaming up with nanomaterials innovator UbiQD Inc. to jointly develop an agrivoltaic solar module specifically for greenhouses. The agreement allows Heliene to embed UbiGro sunlight optimizing technology in Heliene’s photovoltaic modules.
“As energy costs continue to rise, the controlled environment agriculture industry will have to utilize energy sources more efficiently,” said Martin Pochtaruk, CEO of Heliene. “Greenhouses and photovoltaics generate hundreds of billions of dollars of value from sunlight, and our plan is that with our agrivoltaic modules, the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”
Agrivoltaics is an emerging agriculture product category at the intersection of food and energy, wherein crop production and electricity production occur simultaneously and in the same area. For a greenhouse, this means allowing a large portion of the sunlight to pass through to the crop below, with the remaining portion being converted into solar power.
This tradeoff between sunlight for crop growth and sunlight for electricity generation motivates investment in light spectrum optimization in order to grow plants as efficiently as possible. Optimizing the quality of sunlight is exactly what UbiGro technology is designed to do, by converting direct UV/blue light from the sun’s spectrum into an orange/red glow that improves plant growth.
“UbiQD has been developing electricity-generating windows for a number of years, and we offer a line of greenhouse film products for boosting crop yield,” said Hunter McDaniel, Founder and CEO of UbiQD. “What I love most about this partnership with Heliene, is that it leverages our combined expertise and taps our passion for having a positive impact at the intersection of agriculture and energy.”
Headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico, UbiQD is licensing technology developed at leading research institutions, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, M.I.T., University of Washington, and Western Washington University.
Have you checked out our YouTube page?
We have a ton video interviews and additional content on our YouTube page. Recently we debuted Power Forward! -- a collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics as well as best practices / trends for running a solar business today.
Our longer running side project is The Pitch -- in which we have awkward discussions with solar manufacturers and suppliers about their new technology and ideas so that you don't have to. We've discusses everything from residential rail-less deck attaching and home solar financing to large-scale energy storage value stacking and utility-driven new home solar + storage microgrids.
We also post our Project of the Year announcements there! Interviews with this year's winners will be up starting the week of Nov. 8. Head there and subscribe today to stay on top of all this extra stuff.