July 15, 2010
Ag Energy Co-operative is teaming up with the University of Waterloo to accelerate the research and development of a new solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The farmer-owned co-operative believes the dye-sensitized solar cell is a promising device concept that has high potential for cost-effective application suitable for the agricultural sector.

“Currently we offer Ontario farmers 10 kW ground-mounted solar PV systems and roof-mounted systems of all sizes. We believe this is a good opportunity for them as well as a good application. But one thing we have noticed is that the efficiency of even the best solar cells produced is unusually low,” Mike Bouk, chief executive officer of Ag Energy Co-operative told Horticulture Review. “We believe the dye-sensitized solar cell with the nano-structured electrodes will increase the efficiency because of its three-dimensional technology. In other words, there are just more places for the sun to hit the three-dimensional cell than the one-dimensional cell.”

The University of Waterloo will work to develop the novel three-dimensional technology and demonstrate the technical and economic advantages to the packaging and installation of such solar cells.

“Not only is it the right thing to do both environmentally and socially, but it just makes economic sense,” says Bouk. “Ag Energy is honoured to work with the University of Waterloo and its widely accredited research team.”

Bouk went on to explain that solar does well in unobstructed areas and the agricultural sector has plenty of this. “So marrying up a better, more-cost effective technology with the best locations makes sense to us.”