Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Measuring Tomato Production and Water Productivity in Agrivoltaic Systems Public Deposited

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  • Growing populations and industrialization rates across the world are leading to increased food and energy demand. The challenge of meeting this demand while also mitigating climate change impacts serves as a driving force for the development of renewable energies technologies. This study focuses on the role of Agrivoltaic systems in meeting this challenge. Agrivoltaic systems are dual-use systems which allow for both agricultural and electrical production. These systems also have the potential to reduced water demand and increase overall water productivity of certain agricultural crops. This study observed the microclimate and growth characteristics of Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum var Legend) grown within three different locations on an Agrivoltaic field and with two different irrigation treatments (full and deficit). The emitters evaluation characteristics were shown low average discharge rate and standard deviation in all the treatments. Uniformity coefficient and distribution uniformity were values ranged from 69%-99.5% and 47% - 85%, respectively. Overall water productivity increases could potentially be more pronounced in systems with greater overall water distribution uniformity. The microclimate results showed significant differences in air temperature and relative humidity between all the treatments. Air temperature was highest in the control and row plots (22.3 °C, 21.5 °C) but lower beneath the panels (19.8 °C). Average relative humidity was highest in the row, followed by the control and then the panel areas (79.38%, 74.63%, 73.54%). In addition, soil temperature and soil moisture content showed significant difference with all the treatments. Increasing shading from panels corresponded with decreasing soil temperature. Average soil temperate was 20 °C in the panel area, 24.7 °C between the rows, and 25.6 °C in the control. When comparing wind speed data from the climate stations, wind speed was highest in control area compared to row area (0.89 m/sec and 0.65 m/sec). Reference ET was significantly different between the two stations in control area and between the rows. Total crop yield was highest in the control full irrigated areas a, b (88.42 kg/row, 68.13 kg/row), and decreased as shading increased, row full irrigated areas a, b had 53.59 kg/row, 32.76 kg/row, panel full irrigated areas a, b had (33.61 kg/row, 21.64 kg/row). However, water applied was also highest in the control (a = 3.15 m3, b =2.94 m3). The combination of solar shading and deficit irrigation has the potential to trade a reduction in yields for reductions in water use. Water productivity was highest in areas which were both shaded and experiencing deficit irrigation, row deficit a (93.11 kg/m3) and panel deficit a (68.90 kg/m3). These results indicate the existence of some optimal water productivity point. While likely not the optimal point, the row deficit results demonstrate this potential, as the water row deficit water productivity is 53.98 kg/ m3 greater than the control deficit, and 24.21 kg/m3 greater than the panel deficit. These results indicate the potential of Agrivoltaic systems to improve water productivity even for crops which are traditionally considered shade-intolerant. The water productivity impacts shown in this study in a Mediterranean climate are likely to be magnified in arid and semi-arid areas, this work highlights the need for further research in these areas.
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Peer Reviewed
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  • Ongoing Research
Embargo date range
  • 2020-03-29 to 2022-04-29



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