CLSU to integrate agrivoltaic system in farm production system

To further promote renewable energy powering agriculture, Central Luzon State University (CLSU) sets out to integrate the agrivoltaic (AV) system in the farm production system. The one-year Phase 2 project was funded by DA-BAR in the first quarter of 2023. 

This serves as a  follow through of the initially  implemented project that  focused  on the development and pilot testing of a solar-powered pump and hose–reel irrigation system (SPHRIS) for sustainable crop production.  Compared to the 1.5 kilowatt capacity,  the AV system technology at  24 kilowatts will enable solar energy to be maximized  for other farm equipment, irrigation systems, and farm production as well as for food production. 

Furthermore, the AV system technology aims to optimize utilization of areas where solar panels will be installed. Through the recommended optimum spacing between solar panels, crop production will be possible below these panels. 

“It will identify suitable crops that can be grown under the solar panels. An automated fertigation system powered by the energy generated by the AVS will be developed for crop production,” Dr. Marvin M. Cinense, project leader, said.

Initially, the technology is expected to benefit fruit and vegetable growers and farmers and marketing cooperatives and associations in Nueva Ecija.

The designed and fabricated SPHRIS during the Phase 1 of the project has shown its comparable performance to provide cleaner and reliable crop irrigation in remote areas at a cheaper or affordable cost.

Its potential and flexibility was tested in five locations (Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology; Brgys. Licaong and San Agustin in the Science City of Munoz; Sta Barbara, Llanera; and Brgy Sinipit Bubon, San Jose City) at different water sources: dug well, open source and shallow tubewell.  

Pump performance showed that even at low light intensity, the solar panels can generate enough power to effectively run and pump water from 6 to7 hours per day. Meanwhile, the unit-output cost of a diesel-powered pump is higher than solar- powered pump.

The above-mentioned results prompted DA-BAR to support another phase of the project to 

provide available technologies on renewable energy, hence, lessen the dependence of farmers on fossil-based fuels. Furthermore to possibly be adapted in the farm production system and upscale in other areas. (###Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino )