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Greek Solar Panel Company Develops Modules for Greenhouses, Crops

February 25, 2024

Brite Solar, a Greek specialty module manufacturer targeting agrivoltaics greenhouse and solar canopies, is constructing a 150 MW production line to cater to farming cooperatives, integrators, and installers it has been serving since 2022.

The company has pilot installations in North America, Southeast Asia, and Europe, and has raised $9.26 million in venture capital. It claims to have developed bifacial photovoltaic panels for use in agrivoltaic greenhouses and canopies.

These modules are based on novel glass coating materials and deposition technology developed by Brite Solar. The coatings are applied to both the front and back of the top glass in standard glass-glass monocrystalline silicon solar modules.

“By combining our novel coatings with silicon-based solar cells, we have optimized technology suitable for greenhouse applications and crop protective structures, such as canopies, in open-field farming. Early installations have yielded extremely promising results,” said Brite Solar CEO, Nick Kanopoulos, in an interview with PV magazine. He explained that one of the coatings has both anti-reflective and hydrophobic properties, applied to the outside of the top-side glass. “The other coating, applied to the inside of the same glass panel, downshifts ultraviolet light.”

“To downshift means that the ultraviolet light is absorbed by the coating and then emitted on the other side in the red region of visible light where it can be utilized by both plants and solar cells,” added Kanopoulos.

“Our products are optimized for crop protection and crop yields. Power generation is important as a source of income or self-use, but it is secondary to farming,” Kanopoulos emphasized.

He further explained that Brite Solar panels have a lower power rating compared to similarly sized conventional modules because they are optimized for the photosynthetic energy needed for plant growth.

Other benefits claimed by the Greek company for its panel technology include crop protection from adverse weather conditions, rainwater collection, and reduced water evaporation volume, as reported by the magazine.

The venture capital will be invested in constructing a manufacturing line in Patras, Greece, initially with a capacity of 150 MW, with plans for doubling the capacity. Until now, Brite Solar has relied on contract manufacturing partners in China and India.

Having launched its first products quietly a little over a year ago, marketing to large farming cooperatives, project developers, and specialized installers, the company has developed pilot projects in Canada, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Netherlands, the United States, France, Spain, Romania, and Singapore, according to Kanopoulos.

“The production line integrates the coating and the agrivoltaic panel assembly in a single, fully automated manufacturing line,” said Kanopoulos, noting that the equipment is supplied by European manufacturers.

“We adjust the panel transparency to match the target crop’s light requirements and the geographic location of the farm. A pear crop in Greece has a significantly different year-round irradiation profile compared to one located in Germany.”

Brite has protected its technology with patents in the European Union, China, and the US, which are its three primary focus markets.

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