Harnessing Agrivoltaics:  Optimizing Berry Growth Under Solar Shade

Harnessing Agrivoltaics:  Optimizing Berry Growth Under Solar Shade

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In the dynamic landscape of sustainable agriculture, the marriage of photovoltaic technology with berry cultivation, known as agrivoltaics, holds promise for both
energy production and crop yield optimization. Recent research from the Netherlands sheds light on the nuanced relationship between shade generated by elevated
agrivoltaic systems and the growth of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and blackcurrants.

This meta-analysis, conducted by a Dutch research group, delved into the tolerance of various berry types to different levels of shade cast by agrivoltaic systems. The study, which involved statistical synthesis of data from multiple scientific research works, aimed to provide insights crucial for the design and implementation of agrivoltaic systems tailored to specific berry crops and environmental conditions.

Key findings revealed significant variations in berry yield response to increasing levels of shade. While previous literature classified berries as shade-benefiting, this study elucidated that not all berries respond equally to shading. Strawberries exhibited an unexpected increase in yield under high shade rates, a phenomenon attributed to limited data points at low shade rates rather than physiological factors.

Moreover, the study underscored the importance of considering radiation intensity levels in determining crop yield response to shade. Berry crops experienced more substantial yield losses in environments characterized by low radiation intensity, suggesting the necessity for region-specific adaptations in agrivoltaic system design.

The implications of these findings are profound for the future of agrivoltaics. While blueberries demonstrate potential for up to 50% shade tolerance under high
radiation intensities, other berry types exhibit varying degrees of shade tolerance, with some enduring up to 35% shade without yield loss. This nuanced understanding
informs the selection of optimal crop and panel density combinations for different geographical locations, enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of agrivoltaic systems.

The study, titled “Berry shade tolerance for agrivoltaics systems: A meta-analysis,” published in Scientia Horticulturae, represents a collaborative effort by scientists from Wageningen University and the Wageningen Research Foundation. By elucidating the complex interplay between shade, radiation intensity, and berry growth, this research contributes invaluable insights to the burgeoning field of agrivoltaics, paving the way for enhanced agricultural productivity and renewable energy generation.

The above blog content is quoted from the article Agrivoltaics for berries published in PV Magazine on April 18, by LIOR KAHANA. LIOR KAHANA is an author of PV Magazine, and here you can find More articles from Lior Kahana.


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