The company Next2Sun GmbH was founded to realize a completely new photovoltaic (PV) system concept. Our team has several years of experience as project developers and plant operators. As long-standing players in the energy turnaround, we are attracted by the wealth of different application possibilities and the almost global applicability of our new concept.
Together with our parent companies Ökostrom Saar GmbH and Solverde Bürgerkraftwerke Energiegenossenschaft eG, we have developed the Next2Sun system concept to market maturity. Both companies have been successfully developing and implementing projects in the field of renewable energies for many years. Next2Sun bundles the industry experience and know-how of both companies. The passion for innovative technologies and the striving to develop a completely new building block in the renewable energy sector is what distinguishes our team.
Using innovative energy systems, our experienced employees make a very important contribution to a sustainable energy supply and a clean and liveable environment with commitment and sound expertise.
Our Agro Photovoltaic Concept
The core idea behind the Next2Sun system concept is the vertical installation of special solar modules, which can utilize the solar radiation from both sides (“bifacial” modules). The two sides of the module are facing east and west respectively. This way, the electricity is produced, especially in the morning and evening. The areas between the module rows can continue to be used for agriculture and the resulting flower strips provide space for endangered insects and many bird species. Row gaps of around 10 m allow further agricultural, mechanical use of the area. The area required by the PV system is less than 10 % of the area. In addition, the vertical installation of bifacial solar modules in an east-west direction offers further interesting advantages. The Next2Sun ground-mounted system adds a new power generation profile to the energy turnaround. Due to the consistent vertical east-west orientation, peak loads can be reached in the morning and evening hours – counter-cyclically to the existing southern installations. This is beneficial for grid stability and enables plants to be connected to grid branches that are already operating at full capacity and to achieve higher revenues on the electricity exchange. Variable row spacings of at least 8 metres continue to allow a wide variety of agricultural use concepts, and the careful use of soil as a resource leads to a high level of acceptance. The linear structures and the low degree of overbuilding create high-quality old grass areas in which specific habitat structures can be established. The large spaces between the rows offer not only agricultural use but also scope for agri-environmental or compensatory measures The frame system is a solid steel construction consisting of two posts and three crossbars each, which support two bifacial glass-glass modules arranged horizontally one above the other. The overall height of the frame can be flexibly modified and is usually about 3 meters above ground level. The frame design has been developed for easy and flexible installation and long durability. Together with the glass-glass solar modules used, this results in a very long service life for the entire system. The system is designed to meet high static requirements, especially those resulting from wind loads. Project-specific adaptations allow it to be used at almost any location worldwide.
The goal of Next2Sun GmbH is to add a new component to the energy turnaround in the area of electricity production from solar radiation energy. This is technically implemented by not tilting the bifacial solar modules (active on both sides), but by vertically raising them to the east or west. As a result, electricity is mainly produced in the morning and evening. Depending on the type of module used, 5% to 15% higher specific power yields per kW are achieved. This means that Next2Sun systems are one step ahead of classic, south-facing photovoltaic systems in terms of yield.
Grid-related feed-in profiles
Systems with the Next2Sun system concept feed the electricity into the grid when conventional, south-facing PV systems have only low production. This greatly relieves the load on the power grids, especially in the lower voltage levels. Next2Sun systems can therefore also feed power into the grid where wind and conventional PV systems are close to full capacity. The feed-in profile of the Next2Sun system congruently matches the daily curve of the electricity price on the electricity exchange. Our system thus also benefits directly from market events. Because electricity prices are typically low at lunchtime and high in the morning and evening, our Next2Sun systems generate higher average revenues. At present, we receive 5% to 10% higher market revenues on the electricity market compared to conventional PV systems. Together with the higher yields, the revenue per kW of installed system capacity increases by up to 25%.
Agriculture and livestock farming
Variable row spacings of at least 8 metres allow for a variety of agricultural use concepts. In addition, the outdoor system is suitable for grazing cattle, sheep or chickens. The careful handling of the resource soil leads to high acceptance. The Next2Sun system concept complements the existing possibilities of interaction between energy and agriculture. Up to 90% of the solar park area can still be used by agriculture. The at least 8 meter wide gaps between rows allow the use of conventional agricultural machinery, thus ensuring efficient work management. In this way, the “area consumption” can be significantly minimized. Different types of grassland use are possible:
- Mowing meadows (hay or silage use)
- Grazing (cattle, sheep or similar)
- Biomass and material use
- Arable land is also possible
Depending on the type of use, the machines used (example: protection against stone chipping), but also the PV system itself (example: protection against cable bites in pasture farming) are technically adapted so that the optimum type of use for the farmed operation can be achieved.
Due to the linear structures and the low degree of overbuilding, high-quality old grass areas are created in which specific habitat structures can also be established. In addition to agricultural use, the large spaces between rows also offer scope for agri-environmental measures or compensation measures. The vertical positioning of the module areas means that the value of the ground area is hardly affected:
- Insignificant degree of superstructure: less than 1% of the floor area, no sealing, no foundation
- Virtually unchanged water balance: no change in precipitation distribution
- Only slight change in solar radiation: Only about 10% to 15% of the annual solar radiation is extracted by the PV system
This results in a very small influence on the development of vegetation. Thus, habitats can be created and maintained in the area of the module rows, which have become rare in our today’s monotonous agricultural landscape:
- old grass and flower strips, e.g. for insects and moths
- deadwood areas, e.g. for birds, fungi and beetles
- Stone rubble, e.g. for reptiles
In addition to linear habitat structures, flat habitat structures such as wildflower meadows can be created on the entire park area or on partial areas. The system concept thus allows to specifically respond to the respective project and site requirements.
While the visual effect at a distance is comparable to conventional PV systems, the visual appearance at close range is less technical, since, unlike conventional PV systems, no module backs with junction boxes and cables are perceived. The low level of construction is a major advantage, especially for birds – from a bird’s eye view, almost the entire floor area can be seen directly. In addition, glare effects outside the solar park are virtually excluded, since the vertical construction means that all reflections are physically pure.