When we hear about solar panels, most of us think about them being perched up high on a roof to generate electricity for people. This time, Spain’s ULMA Agrícola consortium and Tecnalia research center attached the photovoltaic solar panels to greenhouses to grow perfectly healthy tomatoes and peppers.
According to Basque Research, the worry was to not overshadow the crops, since a key condition to their development is to have plenty of light.
Thanks to a lens-based optical system, solar radiation can be captured and redirected towards the module’s photovoltaic cells. This achieves two things at once: lowering the greenhouse’s temperature during the hot summer days and boosting the electricity generation.
The UMLA Agrícola greenhouse hosting the “experiment” is 400 square meters (478 sq.yd.) wide. Tests watch closely the temperature, humidity and total radiation of the interior, more precisely the photosynthetically active radiation that influences photosynthesis. The results will afterwards be compared with the crops grown under normal glass roofs.
We’re not sure how this comparison will be made, but maybe a bite will be enough to tell the difference!