In Switzerland, there is a new pilot demonstration project announced to test the potential benefits of replacing protective poly tunnels or greenhouses for strawberry and raspberry growth with solar modules from Insolight as intelligent shaders. The Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) backed agrivoltaic project is aimed at assessing the impact on agricultural yield and basis the results, determine the profitability of such systems.
The Insolagrin Agrivoltaic System will be equipped with Translucency and High Efficiency in Agrivoltaics (THEIA) solar modules with controllable light transmission from Insolight from July 2021. Based on optical micro-tracking technology, Insolight has used lenses to concentrate the light on high-performance solar cells, and since the amount of sunlight reaching the plants can be controlled, it would provide protection from intense heat.
“The cultivation of berries and small fruits under cover allows fruit yields and quality to be improved whilst reducing pressure from a majority of fungal diseases,” explained Bastien Christ, Head of the ‘Berries and Medicinal Plants’ Research Group at Agroscope. “This agrivoltaic structure was created with the aim of replacing and improving the protective and shading functions of the umbrella tunnels we use over strawberry and raspberry crops, without obstructing agricultural activity.”
It will be installed by energy company Romande Energie on a surface area of 165 m² at Conthey site in the Swiss Canton of Valais owned by local research institute Agroscope, and studied for 4 years. If successful, it would mean reduction in the use of plastic and optimal use of land. Results will show if these solar shades would be feasible enough to go in for future large-scale deployments.
Positive results from the pilot project will encourage rooftop solar development in the agricultural domain, added project partners, which would in turn lead to faster journey of Switzerland to its decarbonization goals.
Sharing details of the company’s hybrid solar module technology combining CPV and PV supported by HIPERION Project of European Union backed Horizon 2020 projects, Insolight’s Florian Gerlich shared on day 1 of TaiyangNews What’s Hot in European Solar R&D conference in June 2021 that the engineers have been able to achieve individual module efficiency of 30% (see Day 1: TaiyangNews What’s Hot In European Solar R&D).