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Photovoltaic covering system for orchards

Apple trees and other plants suffer yearly from various diseases, some of which can be prevented through use of shelter structures. By applying a roof structure with photovoltaics the covering system provides the orchard with the following benefits: - great reduction of spraying fruits - renewable energy production - increased yield of ecological fruits (estimated 60-70% enhanced crop yield) - multifunctional use of land for both energy and enhanced food production

Photo of anders christoffer soerensen
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Apple trees and other plants suffer yearly from various diseases, some of which can be prevented through use of shelter structures. By applying a roof structure with photovoltaics the covering system provides electricity for the needs of the farm.
 
In organic apple production farmers face some big problems with different fungus diseases that they cannot protect themselves against with pesticides.  One of these is scab, a disease that ruins the look og apples, so that they cannot be sold for eating. Up to 95 % of an apple production can be infected in one year, greatly influencing the profit of the farmer. A new research conducted by the Department of Food Science at Aarhus Universityy shows that this number can be heavily reduced to near 0 % by simply covering the trees from the rain. By covering the trees, the leaves are able to dry faster, and scab is not able to spread.
 
At the same time the implementation of large fields of photvoltaic panels for electricity production faces some ethical issues. In some cases these large fields occupy pieces of land, that could have been used for food production with the consequence tha the price of food and land rises and in some extreme situations lead to famine in poor parts of the world.
 
The primary benefits are:
  • great reduction of spraying fruits
  • renewable energy production
  • increased yield of ecological fruits (estimated 60-70% enhanced crop yield)
  • multifunctional use of land for both energy and enhanced food production

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Photo of jamie dean

I love the coupling of renewable energy with improved/more environmentally friendly agricultural practices! Does the decreased amount of sun the plants/trees receive impact yields? Do you have a source for your increased yield number? Without knowing much about the agricultural side, it sounds like this would be an excellent solution. It's also likely that where there is productive agriculture, there is excellent sunlight. And that this would have increased economic benefits!

Photo of anders christoffer soerensen

I makes good sense.

The source will be:

Michelle H. Williams
Head of department Dept. of Food Science
Aarhus University
Kirstinebjergvej 10
DK-5792 Ã…rslev
Tel.: +45 8715 7957
Mobile: +45 2517 0049
Email: Michelle.Williams@agrsci.dk
Tel.: +45 8715 6000
Web: www.agrsci.au.dk

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