Agricultural sustainability estimation of the European photovoltaic greenhouses

Cossu, Marco, Yano, Akira, Solinas, Stefania, Deligios, Paola A., Tiloca, Maria T., Cossu, Andrea ORCID logoORCID: and Ledda, Luigi (2020) Agricultural sustainability estimation of the European photovoltaic greenhouses. European Journal of Agronomy, 118 , 126074. pp. 1-12. ISSN 1161-0301 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.eja.2020.126074)

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The integration of the photovoltaic (PV) energy in the greenhouse farm has raised concerns on the agricultural sustainability of this specific agrosystem in terms of crop planning and management, due to the shading cast by the PV panels on the canopy. The PV greenhouse (PVG) can be classified on the basis of the PV cover ratio (PVR), that is the ratio of the projected area of PV panels to the ground and the total greenhouse area. In this paper, we estimated the yield of 14 greenhouse horticultural and floricultural crops inside four commercial PVG types spread in southern Europe, with PVR ranging from 25 to 100%. The aim of the work is to identify the PVG types suitable for the cultivation of the considered species, based on the best trade-off between PV shading and crop production. The daily light integral (DLI) was used to compare the light scenarios inside the PVGs to the crop light requirements, and estimate the potential yield. The structures with a PVR of 25% were compatible with the cultivation of all considered species, including the high light demanding ones (tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper), with an estimated negligible or limited yield reduction (below 25%). The medium light species (such as asparagus) with an optimal DLI lower than 17 mol m−2 d−1 and low light crops can be cultivated inside PVGs with a PVR up to 60%. Only low light demanding floricultural species with an optimal DLI lower than 10 mol m−2 d−1, such as poinsettia, kalanchoe and dracaena, were compatible inside PVGs with a PVR up to 100%. Innovative cropping systems should be considered to overcome the penalizing light scenarios of the PVGs with high PVR, also implementing LED supplementary lighting. This paper contributes to identify the sustainable PVG types for the chosen species and the alternative crop managements in terms of transplantation period and precision agriculture techniques, aimed at increasing the crop productivity and adaptability inside the PVG agrosystems.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 30259
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Depositing User: Andrea Cossu
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 13:45
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:19

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