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Agrivoltaic solutions show positive performance in combating heatwaves
In the face of heatwaves and growing concerns about water scarcity, Sun'Agri, a French agrivoltaics specialist, has published insights on the positive impact of temperature regulation, water resource management and crop yields under agrivoltaic installations.
One study focuses on evaluating how solar panels affect the growth of apple, cherry and nectarine trees across three distinct locations in southern France – La Pugère, Etoile sur Rhône and Loriol. At the La Pugère site, the shading provided by the solar panels led to a reduction in air temperature by 3.8 degrees Celsius and an increase in relative humidity of up to 14 per cent between 2019 and 2021. The research also highlights the role of agrivoltaics in water conservation. The study revealed that irrigation requirements under the agrivoltaic system were up to 30 per cent lower compared to the reference areas, resulting in an average reduction of 22 per cent between 2019 and 2021.
Additionally, the research indicates that water retention in the soil was notably higher under the agrivoltaic structures. This phenomenon can be attributed to the microclimate regulation facilitated by the panels’ shade, creating favourable conditions for plant growth while minimising transpiration and the need for irrigation.
Another study demonstrated the successful results achieved in cultivating eggplants in the Brinkhoff agrivoltaic greenhouse in Granges-sur-Lot. Commissioned in September 2020, the 2500 m² facility was designed to meet the growing challenges posed by climate crisis. Greenhouses typically face rising temperatures, with spring temperatures soaring to 30°C and summer temperatures escalating to a scorching 40°C. These conditions often result in flower burns and the accelerated emergence of new pests, making it increasingly challenging to sustain crop yields.
One year after its inception, the Brinkhoff greenhouse revealed positive outcomes. The initial findings demonstrated significantly higher crop yields beneath the agrivoltaic panels when compared to the reference area. The harvest yielded more than 800 kilograms of vegetables under the agrivoltaic structure, outperforming the reference area, which produced approximately 500 kilograms. Additionally, eggplants cultivated beneath the panels exhibited higher biomass, indicative of healthier plant development.
Youp Brinkhoff, Manager of the farm, emphasised the impact of agrivoltaic solution, stating, “We grow various vegetables under these louvers without needing to bleach the greenhouses in the summer. With two years of hindsight, there is less pressure from pests such as aphids. The upcoming harvests will allow us to confirm and complete the first encouraging results of this tool.”
Since the inception of the Brinkhoff greenhouse project, nine different fruits and vegetables have been successfully cultivated, including tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, celery, fennel, spinach, lamb’s lettuce and green beans. This achievement underscores the potential of dynamic agrivoltaics as a sustainable and resilient approach to greenhouse farming, with benefits ranging from enhanced crop yields to reduced environmental impact.
Gwénaëlle Deboutte, Sun’Agri reveals agrivoltaics performance in heatwaves, 25 August 2023 https://www.pv-magazine.com/2023/08/25/sunagri-reveals-agrivoltaics-perf...
Gwénaëlle Deboutte, Eggplants grow 50% more under solar panels, 25th august 2023 https://www.pv-magazine.com/2023/01/25/eggplants-grow-50-more-under-sola...