With the support of the ULMA Group’s innovation area, ULMA AgrÃcola, following the agreement signed with Tecnalia through its Energy Unit, has installed photovoltaic modules on one of its two glass greenhouse units measuring approximately 400 m2.
The new photovoltaic module developed by the ULMA AgrÃcola consortium, the innovation area of the ULMA Group, and Tecnalia allows electricity to be generated without the crops being affected by over-shading. Depending on the season of the year, solar radiation can be diverted by taking advantage of the annual oscillation in the height of the sun’s trajectory; this is achieved through a lens-based optical system. Without the need for any solar mechanical monitoring, the technology allows the needs imposed by any crop to be met. So during the winter (October-February), the light inside the greenhouse, a key parameter for correct plant development, barely falls. But in summer the optical system diverts solar radiation towards the photovoltaic cells that make up the module, thus achieving a dual aim: to provide the greenhouse with cooling during the critical period of high temperatures and to increase electricity production through the photovoltaic system.
So the new module allows photovoltaic equipment to coexist with crops. What is more, it acts as an element for the seasonal control of the radiation and interior temperature of the greenhouse, apart from constituting additional support for the farmer’s economic activity through the sale and/or private use of the energy obtained.
The technology developed enables the problems associated with winter over-shading and summer radiation to be avoided in a simple, robust and effective way.