Results of research conducted in the south of France have shown that solar panels installed above apple, cherry, and nectarine plantations reduce heat and contribute to soil moisture retention during periods of high temperatures.
Agrisolar is becoming an increasingly popular solution. It combines agriculture with electricity production using photovoltaic panels. These devices are typically installed at a height of almost two and a half meters in rows, allowing the land below to be used for growing vegetables and fruits or for livestock grazing.
In the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône and Drôme in the south of France, the company Sun’Agri studied the efficiency of agrivoltaic systems in combination with fruit cultivation. For three years, the company monitored various parameters in orchards with apple, cherry, and nectarine trees under solar panels, comparing them with equivalent orchards that were not covered.
Gardens covered with solar batteries require less irrigation.
The analysis shows that the temperature in the test area in Bouches-du-Rhône was 3.8 degrees Celsius lower than in regular orchards. Additionally, soil moisture was 14% higher. The company also found that the agrivoltaic system contributes to water savings. The irrigation requirement from 2019 to 2021 was up to 30% lower compared to control areas, averaging 22% lower.
Thanks to its dynamic panels, Sun’Agri adjusts the orientation of photovoltaic panels according to the physiological needs of fruit trees and weather conditions.
Solar panels provide a favorable microclimate for plant growth.
Micrometeorological sensors were placed at different heights under the panels. They measured temperature, air humidity, and sunlight.
Using special instruments to measure active radiation for photosynthesis, researchers tracked plant growth and their needs. Sensors were placed on the trees themselves to monitor water levels, functioning, stress, and the temperature of their organs. Ground sensors measured the amount of water in the soil.
The study also showed that the availability of soil water decreases less under solar batteries. The effect was associated with regulating the microclimate in the shade of the panels, improving conditions for plants and reducing the need for transpiration and watering.
In 2021, the company stated that its panels reduce the risk of frost for vineyards below. When the temperature drops to a level threatening the harvest, photovoltaic elements shift to a horizontal position, parallel to the ground, covering almost 40% of the total area. This helps retain the warmth accumulated in the soil until dawn. The additional few degrees are particularly useful in preventing frosts, protecting the most sensitive parts of trees and grapevines, such as buds and flowers.
Topla Kuća will help you calculate and build a solar power station that will not only bring warmth to your home but also preserve the health of your garden for many years.
Source: Sobstvena Energija DOO