Scientists at Tatura SmartFarm are very keen to understand the development of fruit colour throughout the season under the solar panels. For blush pears, development of blush with an attractive red colour is required for premium grade fruit. The selection ‘ANP-0118’, marketed as a Lanya™, requires exposure to sunlight to develop and maintain the blush colour. Conversely, too much exposure to sunlight can lead to sunburn of the fruit with severe cases leading to necrosis. For this reason, the Agrivoltaics experiment has adopted a novel design where panels are positioned to expose trees to sunlight during the early morning and shade them from the scorching afternoon sun.
Colour of fruit blush is regularly measured under the two solar panel configurations and in control plots (with no panels) using a portable Bluetooth colorimeter. Blush coverage (the proportion of peel that is blushed) and sunburn damage will be determined at harvest. Results will demonstrate whether exposure to morning sun is sufficient to develop adequate blush and if the afternoon shading has saved fruit from sunburn.