Flower power meets solar power
Solar powered greenhouses are not a new idea. Technically, green houses - and plants - have always been solar powered. So how can photovoltaics make a difference to the commercial hothouse industry and agriculture in general?
“There is enormous potential for the use of solar power in agriculture,” said Colin Parkin, General Manager of Canadian Solar Inc. “PV solutions enable farmers to create environments where they can control temperature and light at vastly reduced cost, when compared with conventional power sources,” he said.
These can be smaller scale projects like the 20 kW clear-module one pictured here in Heihe, China, which uses innovative transparent panels to let light through to the plants below, to much more ambitious projects.
A 250 kW system in Moose Creek serves as an excellent example, not least because it is Eastern Ontario’s Largest Solar Rooftop Installation. It is owned by local farmer, Mr. Castonguay. “Besides saving on electricity, I am actually generating direct revenue from the installation,” he said. “In addition, it significantly reduces my farm’s carbon footprint and contributes to a cleaner, renewable environment.”
The system, made up of 1,339 CS6P-P 230 W Canadian Solar modules, is big enough to meet far more than his own needs. It is connected to the Ontario grid and creates additional revenue by supplying enough energy to power approximately 30 homes annually and, not least, helps eliminate the production of 279.80 metric tons of carbon every year. Solexium Solar Solutions, installer of the system, chose Canadian Solar modules for their excellent quality and high efficiency wattage. They were also attracted by the 10-year warranty on materials and workmanship, and the 25-year linear power output warranty. The future looks extremely promising for PV in agriculture.