The Effect of Surface Cover Vegetation on the Microclimate and Power Output of a Solar Photovoltaic Farm in the Desert

Evyatar Erell, Yuval Kaye, Julian Leaf, Lotan Talshir, Liran Ben-Altabet, David Meninger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Part of a commercial solar photovoltaic farm in the hot dry Negev Desert of Israel was modified by planting low-rise surface cover crops in the spaces between the rows and beneath the solar panels. In two test plots of about 0.22 hectares each, modifications to the microclimate resulted in lower air temperature, higher humidity and reduced radiant loads on the lower face of the panels compared to a control plot that was not modified. PV panel temperature in the planted test plots was up to 4.5oC lower, resulting in an increase of electricity output of 1.2% over the summer. Water consumption for irrigation was 24-30% lower in the partly shaded zones during the initial planting and growth phase (depending on the type of crop), but differences in the height of summer, once the crops had matured, was only 7-11% lower. The crop yields beneath a partly shaded area beneath the panels were about 60% of the yield in fully exposed areas of the site, but the Land Equivalent Ratio of the test plots was 1.67. An analytical model, adapted from the Faiman equation, can describe PV panel temperatures in the presence of crops accurately, providing a basis for estimating the electricity output based on their rated temperature coefficient.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - ISES Solar World Congress 2021
PublisherInternational Solar Energy Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783982040875
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
EventISES Solar World Congress 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 25 Oct 202129 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - ISES Solar World Congress 2021


ConferenceISES Solar World Congress 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Land Equivalent Ratio
  • PV panel temperature
  • desert
  • field experiment
  • pilot study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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