Utility scale solar farms are being rapidly developed to reduce carbon footprint and to help meet ambitious energy goals set by state and federal governments. Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), we are developing comprehensive design tools to investigate the microclimate of a solar farm. In this study, we define the term “ventilation” to qualitatively assess wind flow through a solar farm and measure its effect on solar module efficiency. We model a solar farm and compare the simulation results to a modified site design with improved ventilation. This investigation provides a basis for further studies on design and predictive models of solar farms, and it makes an argument for combining agriculture and photovoltaics through agrivoltaics.
Keywords CFD, solar PV, solar module efficiency