PV greenhouse for soft fruits
Farmer Fabian Karthaus has been operating a photovoltaic system on his family farm in Steinhausen, Germany, for years as a sideline. The first solar panels were installed on the barn by his father when Fabian was still a teenager. Today, Karthaus makes full use of solar energy – not only to generate electricity, but also to grow blueberries and raspberries in his PV greenhouse project which he realized last year together with a farmer friend.
Working with an engineer the two farmers built two greenhouses with roofing made of translucent solar panels. The light shading of the plants stores moisture in the soil which evaporated too much during the recent very dry summers. A mist sprayer provides balanced watering of the plants with captured rainwater. Hail, which could damage soft fruit, is also kept out by the solar panels.
Solar panels and "agri-PV systems" can be a more efficient alternative to greenhouse systems because plastic greenhouses are not very durable. Covering crops with solar panels is much more expensive but makes more sense from an environmental perspective because solar greenhouses last for decades.
In Asia, solar power plants are most widely used in agriculture. China is a pioneer here; in the Gobi Desert the world's largest agri-PV plant to date covers over 1200 hectares.
A detailed report on Agri-PV can be read here:
Schindele, Stephan, Crops and Electricity from Agricultural Land. What is Agri-Photovoltaics and what can it do?, in: GAIA 30/2 (2021), pp. 87-95.
Sources: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/oekom/gaia/2021/00000030/00000002/art00007?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf"mimetype=application/pdf (last access on 09/09/2021 at 9:05 a.m.)
https://nr-plus.de/diese-gewaechshaeuser-in-bueren-sind-echte-prototypen/bueren/ (last access on 09/09/2021 at 10 a.m.)
https://www.dw.com/ru/solnechnaya-energetika-na-poljah-fermerov/a-59001877 (last access on 09/08/21 at 4:15 p.m.)