For many years, solar panels for farming were considered an inexpedient and ineffective investment. However, with the advent of thin-film technologies and panels with selective color absorption, the situation has changed dramatically. Today, photovoltaic technology is actively used on farms and greenhouses around the world. And the volume of energy generated by it turns out to be quite enough for full autonomous provision of agricultural objects.
Installation options and benefits of solar panels for farms
Today, farms practice three main options for placing solar modules:
- As a canopy – the panels are installed at an optimal slope at a certain height from the ground, using them to generate energy and at the same time protect from precipitation.
- On roof coverings – be it the roof of a greenhouse, a livestock farm or a greenhouse.
- On agricultural plots – usually the installation site is the gaps between the rows of vegetables and melons.
Each of the options has its own advantages, therefore it is selected based on the individual characteristics of the farm.
An important advantage of the arrival of solar energy in agriculture is the diversification of risks. This becomes especially noticeable during the summer fall in prices for fruit and berry products, which is offset by the maximum production of energy that can be sold.
In addition to the places where the crop is directly grown, solar panels for the farm can simultaneously supply electricity to:
- ventilation systems of auxiliary buildings and structures, such as elevators;
- heating devices for various rooms in the winter;
- equipment for watering gardens, flower beds, fields, etc.
The main function of solar panels is to ensure the provision of energy to those farms where the centralized energy supply is unstable or absent altogether.
Thus, the use of modern photovoltaics on farms in some cases moves from the category of an alternative opportunity to an urgent need.
Placements and their features
The choice of the location, quantity, type and method of placing the photo panels depends on the purpose for which the solar power plant will be used.
1. Agricultural land.
Vegetable, melon and berry crops have different requirements for the amount of heat and light.
- For onions, cucumbers or potatoes, partial shading not only does not reduce yields, but even increases yields. Therefore, above the beds of these crops, solar panels for farms are usually placed in the form of sheds.
- Barley, oats, zucchini, peas, carrots, cabbage and radishes are generally insensitive to the direction and brightness of the radiation flux. For them, the installation of agro-photovoltaics is allowed in any design.
- Wheat, corn and sunflower are plants, on the contrary, light and heat-loving. On such margins, panels are mounted only in specially organized gaps in order to avoid shading.
- Solar panels are also installed between the rows in vineyards and orchards with fruit trees.
Important! Double-sided and partially transparent solar panels for farms significantly increase productivity. The first of them are 25-30% more efficient due to the absorption of not only direct, but also reflected light. The latter have high throughput without sacrificing performance.
2. Roofing structures for greenhouses.
Three types of modules are used here – translucent, special red or ordinary, installed in a special way with the ability to move.
In the latter case, the most common budget option is “butterfly wings”. They prevent the greenhouse from overheating with solar panels, let in enough sunlight and can further increase the yield by 7-8% ..
3. Livestock farms
A distinctive feature of SPP for a livestock complex is the use of storage batteries in the system. In them, energy is accumulated during the day, while the cattle are grazing. In the morning and in the evening, the saved generation provides power for milkers, drinkers, ventilation systems, and in case of a cold snap – heating.
4. Surface of reservoirs.
Ideal for fish and other aquatic life. Solar panels placed on water receive additional cooling, which increases their effective efficiency. In addition, they can easily supply oxygen compensators for a reservoir, as well as a pumping system.