Researchers test photovoltaic shading mesh for greenhouses

The University of Alicante and the Solar Cloth System company have signed a collaboration agreement that will serve to carry out joint research in the field of photovoltaic generation in the agricultural field.

Maria Jesus Pastor, the Vice-rector of Transfer, Innovation, and Scientific Dissemination and the CEO of the French company have signed the collaboration agreement for "the development of a greenhouse energy management system based on the integration of a shading mesh with photovoltaic generation" to be led by Francisco Javier Ferrandez Pastor, professor in the Department of Computer Technology and Computing (DTIC), through the UCIE AI, and the research group of Industrial Computing and Computer Networks (GI I2RC).

The agreement will serve to carry out a proof of concept of the new material developed by Solar Cloth System within the framework of the "EARN: Development and industrialization of photovoltaic textiles" project. It is a material composed of photovoltaic meshes of agronomic shading, and its functionality will be tested via this research at the greenhouse facilities of the University's experimental plant unit.

The University of Alicante will provide the greenhouse module of the experimental plant unit and the necessary means for the installation and maintenance of the agronomic shading mesh, the adaptation and preparation of the data collection software platform, and the software license for use in the proof of concept.

The data obtained on energy generation and agronomic parameters will be used by both parties to assess the feasibility of the energy management system.

"The installation will expand the services of the software platform developed by the UCIE AI innovation group of the University, including sustainability parameters. The resulting agronomic demonstration will be a pioneer in the incorporation of digital enabling technologies applied to the optimization of processes, digital traceability, and sustainability in crop production," stated the lead researcher, Francisco Javier Ferrandez Pastor.

The University demonstration resulting from this research has already attracted the interest of farmers' associations and collaboration with other research groups and has secured resources from the CANNADIG project, the Agri-Food R&D& I program (AGROALNEXT-GVA) funded by European funds NextGenerationEU.

The agreement also contemplates that once the meshes are installed in the greenhouse module of the experimental plant unit owned by the University of Alicante, they will be installed permanently and free of charge for teaching and research use by the UA research staff.


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