Agrivoltaics is a new integrated approach that has potential to simultaneously address agricultural and energy issues. This study evaluated the effects of shading from different configurations of photovoltaic arrays above the tree canopy on productivity of pear trees.
The experiment was established in 2021–22 at the Tatura SmartFarm over a pear orchard (‘ANP-0118’ on BP1 rootstock, marketed as a Lanya™) with north–south row orientation. Trees were trained on Open Tatura trellis (i.e., V system). Two photovoltaic array treatments (two 1.05 m wide strips above each tree row) angled at 45° and 5° to the horizontal and facing west, and a control treatment (no photovoltaic array above the canopy) were used in the experiment. The energy produced by photovoltaic arrays was monitored and sequentially directed to battery storage and the energy grid.
Fruit diameter and fruit skin colour attributes were monitored with repeated measurements in the two months before harvest with a digital calliper and a tristimulus colourimeter, respectively. Fruit number, fruit size, blush coverage and skin colour properties were measured with an in-line commercial grader. Visual assessments of sunburn damage, and destructive measures of soluble solids concentration and firmness were conducted at harvest.
This abstract was submitted to and poster displayed at the XIV International Pear Symposium — Stellenbosch, South Africa, 22-26 January 2023.
The experiment was funded by the Government of Victoria, Australia under the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan. The author acknowledges the valuable contributions of Plant Production Sciences team at the Tatura SmartFarm.