The Swiss research institute Agroscope has partnered with the energy company Romande Energie to build the agrivoltaic project. This projects has received the backing of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Developed by Insolight (a start-up company), the panels that will replace the conventional plastic cover, will allow up to 78% of sunlight through while at the same time producing energy that will be used on 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.”

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 panels will act like a ‘smart’ shade adjusting the amount of light they let through at any given time. This will prevent the plants underneath from becoming too hot or drying out. The solution will be tested for four years on 165-square-metre site and all information will be recorded for further analysis.

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