Using Dynamic Agrivoltaism to protect fruit crops: combining field research, crop modeling and DSS to optimize steering policies

Gerardo. Lopez; Sun’Agri, Lyon, 69005, France; [email protected]
Jérôme Chopard; Sun’Agri, Lyon, 69005, France; [email protected]
Severine Persello; Sun’Agri, Lyon, 69005, France; [email protected]
Damien Fumey; Sun’Agri, Lyon, 69005, France; [email protected]

 

Climate change is expected to increase the occurrence of frosts, hailstorms, heavy rains, drought episodes and heat waves worldwide. These extreme events can have a devastating effect on perennial and vegetable fruit crops. The scientific community has shown that these crops can be protected of extreme events using shading nets, that nowadays is a common horticultural practice. At the same time, a new protection technique has also been developed: the agrivoltaics systems (photovoltaic solar panels positioned above the trees), having the added value of its contribution to the energy transition. First, this study emphasis in one of the most innovative photovoltaics techniques developed by the Sun’R and Sun’Agri groups in France; the dynamic agrivoltaic systems, consisting of solar panels that can rotate in an angle of +/- 90° to adjust the level of shading in the orchard. Examples of how dynamic solar panels can be oriented to provide protection against climate hazards are presented. The core of the presentation is related with the management of the dynamic solar panels and how it is possible to expose trees to incoming light when necessary and shade the trees to protect them when extreme weather conditions are forecasted. The smart management mixes the knowledge acquired from field research over 12 years and crop modelling activities. Our program of research will be presented along with the model developed to pilot the solar panels. The model combines a water balance, an energy balance, a whole-tree carbon budget and their interactions has been developed to predict the performance of trees grown under solar panels. The crop model produces three agronomical indicators: tree water potential, canopy temperature and carbohydrate assimilation available for organ growth to determine the orientation of solar panels. Sun’Agri is currently working in a project to include all the knowledge derived from the research program and modelling activities into a decision support system to help growers monitoring the orientation of the solar panels. We expect that this work will make the scientific community aware of the threats of crops to climate change, how it is possible to provide solutions for growers, and facilitate the advance of agrivoltaics in Israel.