Transparent solar panels, farmers’ most fruitful tool?

A pilot project will explore if strawberries and raspberries can grow faster below a new type of transparent solar panel

The Big Zero report

Forget strawberries and cream, the best combo could be strawberries and solar panels!

A new pilot project in Switzerland will explore the potential benefits of a new type of transparent solar panel on fruit yields.

The Swiss research institute Agroscope has partnered with the energy company Romande Energie to build the agrivoltaic project which is also backed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

Developed by the startup Insolight, the modules that will replace the conventional plastic covers allow up to 78% of sunlight to let through.

The technology combines two usage modes, one that enables the system to generate energy and another to ‘leak’ the light.

In this way, the solar modules act like a ‘smart’ shade adjusting the amount of light they let through.

The solution will be tested for four years on 165-square-metre site.

Bastien Christ, Head of the Berries and Medicinal Plants Research Group at Agroscope, said: “Dynamically adjusting the light transmitted to the plants paves the way for increased protection from climate variations and possible increases in crop yields thanks to the matching of the light to the needs of the plants and the lowering of the temperature during heat waves via the shading effect.”

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