An Agrivoltaic System Software Platform

A Software Platform for Agrivoltaic System Modelling, Design, Prediction, Deployment and Review

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

27 March 2023

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Agrivoltaics is the combination of Photovoltaic Arrays deployed into an agricultural setting. The combination of the two technologies has been shown to improve the financial efficiency of land use and in some cases improve crop production due to microclimatic phenomenon. Such systems have the potential to address rising concerns over large scale photovoltaic system deployments displacing existing agriculture. There has been a significant increase in research focused on the electrical power generation possibilities and the agricultural impact of deploying such systems, however there is still a lack of tools for system design, sensor data management and analysis, and for ongoing system monitoring. Additionally, while the Australian climate and geography present potential as an ideal location for agrivoltaic systems, there has been limited research on deployment within Australia and Tasmania.

Project goals include identifying and managing the potential benefits and impacts of an agrivoltaic system. Benefits may include agricultural productivity (crop, pasture, livestock), income from power generation, and income from agricultural production. Areas of impact may include climate, soils, ecosystems and waters. The project will include the development of software and hardware platforms for the design and analysis of potential and existing agrivoltaic systems. Systems to be developed may include software/firmware frameworks for the rollout, maintenance and data gathering from agrivoltaic sensor networks, and software and cloud-based solutions for the management and processing of agrivoltaic data.

The successful PhD candidate will require skills in embedded systems, cloud based software development, data gathering and analysis and mathematical virtual system modelling. The candidate will also benefit from an understanding of renewable generation systems, in particular photovoltaic generation systems, experience with big data, data storage, and mathematical optimisation. The candidate may also benefit from an understanding of agriculture and the impacts of crop shading and water flow for crops or livestock.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sarah Lyden

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Sarah Lyden to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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