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agriculture

Optimization algorithm for vertical agrivoltaics

Developed by Swedish scientists, the proposed algorithm is said to calculate a project’s ideal design by combining climatological data with figures on expected solar power generation, shading distribution, water for irrigation, and agricultural yield. Its creators spoke with pv magazine about the key parameters that the model seeks to determine, one of which is the optimal distance between the solar module rows depending on the kind of crop.

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Pollinator-focused solar parks

Researchers in the US ascertained that the partial shading provided by solar parks creates a microclimate that favors the abundant growth of more varied flowers and pollinators. They also found that partial shading increases bloom abundance by delaying bloom timing, increasing forage for pollinators during the hot and dry late season.

Growing lettuce in a solar-powered greenhouse

Scientists in the United States have analyzed how semitransparent organic solar cells placed on the roof of a greenhouse may impact crop production. They assessed, in particular, how solar power generation may affect lettuce crops and found that the plants not only grow unhindered but also that the solar cells reduce overheating in the greenhouse.

Solar-powered cooling system for crop storage

South African scientists have used a PV system to keep tomatoes in cold storage. They linked an air-cooling system and evaporative cooling tech to a 3.5 kW array and 12 batteries and tested it for 28 days in September.

The weekend read: The ground beneath

A number of drivers are highlighting the importance of vegetation management in utility-scale solar projects, from coupling with agriculture to the significance of pollinators, as well as the related permitting and O&M benefits. Tom Karas of Minnesota Native Landscapes sets out why awareness of comprehensive vegetation management is of growing importance in the solar sector.

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Giant agrivoltaic project in China

The Baofeng Group is building a 1 GW solar park which is hosting a goji berry plantation in the Binhe New District on the eastern banks of the Yellow River in the Ningxia Province. Around 640 MW have so far been grid-connected. Huawei is providing the inverters for the project.

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A solar tree for agricultural applications

The Internet of Things (IOT)-enabled solar tree — using 35 solar PV panels with a 330 Wp capacity each — is especially useful for the agricultural community in providing electricity for high-capacity water pumps, e-tractors and e-power tillers. It can also allow precision agriculture through IoT-enabled features such as real-time humidity, wind speed, rainfall prediction and soil health monitoring.

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India set for 10 GW of agricultural solar

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh – which had commissioned an aggregate 3.53 GW of solar capacity as of May 31 – will set up the new plants to ensure nine hours of daily free power supply to the agricultural sector.

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European agrivoltaics

According to SolarPower Europe, local agriculture and solar energy could become the engines of a sustainable European economy. The trade body has created a task force, led by French independent power producer Amarenco, that aims to place agrivoltaics at the top of the European agricultural policy agenda, while also establishing global standards for the segment.

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The fossil fuel giant and agrivoltaics

French oil and gas company Total is planning to install nearly 500 MW of solar generation capacity on farmland by 2025. The power company will work with French seed and agricultural supply company inVivo group to install agrivoltaic systems.

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