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Hayleys Solar selected for first ADB-developed, financed, agrivoltaics project in Sri Lanka

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) together with the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) under the Ministry of Power and Energy (MOPE), the Tea Smallholders Development Authority (TSHDA) under the Ministry of Plantation Industries (MOPI), the University of Peradeniya and Hayleys Solar inaugurated Sri Lanka’s first-ever semi-transparent Solar PV-powered Agrivoltaics Demonstration Project.

Agrivoltaics are built on the innovative practice of installing solar panels above lands suitable for growing crops. The key innovation in the ADB-developed project, implemented in Hanthana – Kandy, lies in transparent solar panels, allowing sunlight to reach crops while generating clean energy, and maximising land use efficiency. This initiative marks a significant milestone for the country’s clean energy and agricultural industries.

The 85kWp hybrid semi-transparent solar panel project, operational since February 29, 2024, installed two metres above the tea plantation at the Hanthana Ratnasiri Wickramanayake National Training Centre, Kandy is projected to generate electricity to power 19 households, contributing to the national grid with a 24 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery energy storage system.

The project complements the tea plants with a strategically placed LED lighting system above, creating a controlled environment for optimal growth.These LED lights leverage solar power efficiently by utilising targeted spectrums beneficial to tea plants, consuming less energy for sustainable operation, and emitting minimal heat to maintain ideal growing temperatures – all contributing to increased yields without burdening the local grid.

The facility also complements a groundwater pump with a borehole arrangement to facilitate water supply for both the tea plants at the project area and the nearby estate community.

“This project has the opportunity to address both issues of achieving energy security and overcoming agricultural challenges in a land-stressed country like Sri Lanka,” said Professor Janaka Ekanayake, Senior Professor from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Peradeniya.

“Projects such as this are being implemented around the world, and this is the first time Sri Lanka has undertaken an initiative.”

Professor Ekanayake also highlighted the potential for expanding this technology to other crops like vanilla, tomato, and bell pepper cultivations as well. The project, based on an 800-square-metre tea estate, is expected to generate well above 100 MWh of electricity annually.Ranjith Sepala, Chairman of SLSEA and Dr. Sulakshana Jayawardena, Secretary to MOPE said, “This initiative has the potential to revolutionise the way we use our land resources for both food and energy production, and it is a perfect example of how innovation can solve multiple societal challenges.”

Hayleys Solar, the renewable energy arm of Hayleys Fentons, was selected for the supply and installation through a competitive bid to build the Agrivoltaics Demonstration Project.

State Minister of Plantation Industries, Lohan Ratwatte stated, “this project marks a significant stride towards sustainable development in our agricultural sector.

The increasing demand for food and energy in Sri Lanka, coupled with the challenges of fossil fuel-based electricity, highlights the importance of renewable energy.”

Prof. Priyantha Wijayatunga, Senior Director, Energy, ADB, said, “Agrivoltaics offer a unique opportunity to address energy security in a land-constrained country like Sri Lanka and its agricultural challenges. We are confident that this project will serve as a model for wider applications of achieving sustainable food security and energy access not only in Sri Lanka but also in the region.

The post Hayleys Solar selected for first ADB-developed, financed, agrivoltaics project in Sri Lanka appeared first on DailyNews.

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