Swiss solar tech startup Insolight has developed translucent solar modules that can help improve crop yield by adjusting the amount of light that reaches the plants, while using the rest of the sunlight to generate electricity.
Insolight said the agrivoltaic solution, called insolagrin, will be tested in cooperation with energy company Romande Energie and agricultural research firm Agroscope over four years starting this month, when the solar modules will be installed over strawberry and raspberry crops as replacements for protective tunnels.
The insolagrin modules act like a ‘smart’ shade, adjusting the amount of light they let through
The solar modules act like a “smart” shade, adjusting the amount of light they let through and enabling the optimization of plant photosynthesis over the seasons and helping reduce the negative impact of hot summer temperatures on the yield and quality of agricultural products, Insolight said.
A positive outcome of the pilot project could lead to large-scale deployment
The modules, called THEIA (Translucency & High Efficiency in Agrivoltaics), will be tested over a surface area of 165 m2, but positive results could lead to future large-scale deployments.
The pilot project is supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (OFEN), according to the press release. Martial Genolet, photovoltaic business manager at Romande Energie, said the replacing existing greenhouses with PV structures would complement rooftop solar deployment, which would speed up the decarbonization process in Switzerland.