Dipartimento di Agraria

Università degli Studi di Sassari


INNOVAtive agricultural management inside phototovoltaic GREENhouse (INNOVAGREEN) - FONDAZIONI


The Italian greenhouse horticultural industry is facing the challenge of reducing the fossil fuel consumption by increasing the renewable energy production. The solar energy is the most convenient renewable source applied to greenhouse systems, by installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof, leading to the so called “PV greenhouse” (PVG), especially spread in Southern Europe, including Sardinia (Italy). This agrosystem can be considered mixed, since it can produce energy and fresh food on the same area. However, the persistent shading cast by the PV panels over the crops requires original agronomic managements, highly demanded by the greenhouse growers, by identifying suitable species and new criteria for the PVG design. The Department of Agriculture of the University of Sassari (DAUS) has a proven experience in the PVG industry and a precise knowledge of the main critical aspects due to the lack of solar light, thus the negative impacts on crop yield and development. According to this, the present proposal introduces INNOVAGREEN, an innovative approach based on the integration of solar radiation algorithms, crop models and neural networks, to characterize the specific microclimate inside PVGs and simulate the crop growth, development and yield. The numerical simulations will be validated by means of specific experimental trials performed inside real-scale PVGs and control greenhouses on representative high (tomato), medium (lettuce and french bean) and low (asparagus) light demanding horticultural crops. The experiments will be conducted in collaboration with PVG farms (Agricultural Production Engineering, Carbonia - APE) and a high school (Istituto Agrario Pellegrini, Sassari – IAP) located in Sardinia, with the purpose to integrate research and education to prepare professionals for the greenhouse horticulture sector in Sardinia. Once validated, the methodology will be applied to at least 15 additional greenhouse crops to estimate their general performance inside the PVG types that can be commonly found in Sardinia and in other Italian regions. In fact, this procedure and the related findings of INNOVAGREEN can be applied to many combinations of PVG structures and species, support researchers and farmers in choosing and managing greenhouse crops inside the actual PVGs and design the next generation structures. In perspective, the results can support the reconversion of the existing and underutilized Sardinian PVG farms to profitable and sustainable protected cropping systems. The interdisciplinary aspects of the project (horticulture, numerical simulations, agricultural and electrical engineering) will be used also for training and educational purposes for the high school and university students, including the study of advanced technologies in horticulture and innovative PV cells promising for greenhouse applications.

Durata del progetto: 01/07/2021 – 30/06/2023

Partner: Dipartimento di Agraria dell’Università di Sassari, Agricultural Production Engineering private farm, Istituto di Istruzione Superiore N. Pellegrini di Sassari 

Coordinatore e responsabile scientifico: Prof.ssa Paola Deligios, Dipartimento di Agraria dell’Università di Sassari 

Email: pdeli@uniss