Solar Roofing For Orchards

Workers at Christian Nachtwey’s organic orchard in western Germany are filling their carts with delicious red Elstar apples so they may export them to stores in other parts of Europe as it is picking season. However, Nachtwey’s farm is also experiencing a second harvest since solar panels shelter many apple trees. This unusually sunny summer generates an abundance of electricity and gives the fruit below the much-needed shade.

Innovative Farming

Nachtwey, a farmer in Gilsdorf, an hour’s drive south of Cologne, believes the concept is simple. “To preserve output in particular and to protect the orchard without diminishing the available land. Additionally, the same property is used to produce solar energy. As farmers want to make the most of their land and provide a second source of income, large solar arrays on farmland are growing in popularity in Europe and North America.

However, because modern fruit varieties are tailored to specific growing environments, finding the ideal combination of plants and sunshine can be challenging. Any modification may cause farmers to lose income if their fruit is harmed, the wrong color, or not as delicious as buyers like.

In collaboration with experts, Nachtwey is experimenting with different apple varieties to see which ones grow well on solar roofs and which kinds of photovoltaic roofing are best for a meadow orchard. Some trees are covered with a conventional net, generally used to shield delicate crops from hail so that the results may be compared.

Jürgen Zimmer, a specialist for the state of Rhineland-agriculture Palatinate’s services, claimed that this year’s apples under solar roofs were a little less tasty than those under hail nets. On July 24, this year, the area was struck by intense sunlight, but very few of the apples shaded by the sun were harmed. In contrast, 18% of the fruit left out in the sun that day, he claimed, experienced sunburn.

To chart every possible weather scenario and examine the yield and color various tree species create, Zimmer said, “it takes us at least two to three full years.”

The tests, in theory, will demonstrate that tree crops do well with solar panels. This could assist in preventing agriculture and the production of renewable energy from competing for scarce land, which is a significant issue for those trying to tackle climate change and skyrocketing food prices.

Nachtwey claimed that he could power his facilities and equipment using the solar energy produced on the farm. But for now, he intends to power several adjacent homes instead.

Solar Panels

A photovoltaic (PV) system with its electricity-generating solar panels positioned on the roof of a residential or business building or structure is known as a rooftop solar power system, sometimes known as a rooftop PV system.

Rooftop-mounted systems are a type of dispersed generation since they are modest compared to utility-scale solar ground-mounted photovoltaic power stations. Grid-connected solar power systems represent the majority of rooftop PV plants. Residential rooftop PV systems usually have a capacity of 5 to 20 kW, whereas those installed on commercial buildings frequently have a capacity of 100 to 1 Megawatt (MW). Industrial-sized rooftops can accommodate PV systems in hybrid systems.

In addition to conventional power sources like diesel engines, wind turbines, batteries, etc., a rooftop photovoltaic power station (either on-grid or off-grid) can be used. These solar hybrid power systems might be able to supply a constant source of electricity.

Rooftop solar array components include:

The parts of a rooftop solar array used the most frequently are listed in the following section. Although designs might vary depending on the kind of roof (for example, metal vs. shingle), the angle of the roof, and shading issues, most arrays have some variant of the following elements.

When exposed to sunlight

  • Solar panels generate electricity without any carbon emissions. Solar panels, frequently constructed of silicon, are composed of tiny solar cells, usually six cells per panel. A solar array is made of several connected solar panels. Tempered glass is typically used to shield solar panels, while an aluminum frame serves as a support. A solar panel’s front is quite resilient, but its rear is typically more fragile.
  • Solar panel mounting clamps fasten solar panels to the roof and rails. They typically consist of aluminum brackets and stainless-steel bolts.
  • Metal rails or racking are frequently laid out parallel to the roof for the panels to rest. For the panels to be mounted equally, the rails must be sufficiently level.

Related Articles

Back to top button