As population rates continue to grow around the world, the quantities of food we consume are increasing. It is, therefore, necessary for agricultural production to increase its fruit and vegetable production accordingly, to meet the demand across the globe.
The difficulties in meeting this demand are very great. One of them, which is one of the most important challenges, is energy: how can agricultural companies be profitable and continue production if they have to face increasingly high costs to meet the energy needs of their crops?
With such a bleak outlook on the horizon, the innovation and development departments of companies are working on solutions that can be used to save costs in this area while agriculture continues its optimal process and adapts to the amounts of consumption required by society.
One of these solutions is to bet on renewable energies. Although they have always posed the difficulty of being able to meet the requirements of an automated greenhouse with guarantees, the evolution of the applied technology is approaching in efficiency and longevity to become a real option for agricultural companies.
Beyond solar panels: R&D&I at the forefront
One of these possibilities for the future, and perhaps closer to the present than we think, is the one that scientists at North Carolina State University in the United States have launched. They have equipped the glass of greenhouses with semi-transparent organic solar panels capable of readjusting their wavelengths to capture those that plants do not use for photosynthesis, generating electricity without subtracting the amount of light required by the crops. After the tests carried out, they obtained that the greenhouse received the necessary energy thanks to these solar panels while the plants, in this case, lettuce, maintained their normal level of growth. And to reduce costs, they are studying the possibility of replacing the glass with a polymeric material.
The Chinese government is pushing another solution from 2021. It intends to invest 280 million euros to reach 150 MW of installed power in greenhouse roofs in the country. This experience will be of interest to many other countries with experience in protected agriculture, such as Spain, which in Almeria alone has 30,000 hectares of greenhouses that could be converted into a huge solar energy collection centre while producing the same quantities of fruits and vegetables.
Commitment to innovation and sustainability: solar panels on greenhouses projects
As can be seen in all its projects, J. Huete International maintains an indelible commitment to research and the application of new solutions tailored to the ideas of its partners. Also focused on efficient technology, a line of work that even includes models of greenhouses adapted to the incorporation of solar panels.
The company, based in Alcantarilla (Region of Murcia), but with a strong international presence, has a multidisciplinary team that promotes new high-tech solutions, efficient and sustainable, to apply to their greenhouse projects, to facilitate the production of healthier and stronger crops, minimizing the carbon footprint.