This study investigates the use of a foldable solar panel system equipped with a dynamic tracking algorithm for agrivoltaics system (AVS) applications. It aims to simultaneously meet the requirements for renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.

During this project the team looked for possibilities to implement a movable solar panel system in combination with growing a low revenue crop. The report provides advice on design of movable systems, on the feasibility of the idea, and its influence from and on the society. The report includes the main bottlenecks associated with implementation of the idea. To explore the potential of such a movable solar panel system within a common Dutch arable farm, the team first looked at available literature from previous research and existing technologies, constructions and patents. Next to that, the solar irradiation and crop growth underneath the panels were calculated with the help of models in order to calculate the financial revenue and profitability of the system.

Foldable solar cells, with the advantages of size compactness and shape transformation, have promising applications as power sources in wearable and portable electronics, building and vehicle integrated photovoltaics. However, in contrast to mild bending with curvature radius of several millimeters, folding generates the crease with extreme curvature radius of sub-millimeter, resulting in the appearance of large strain and stress. As a result, it is highly challenging to realize robustly foldable and highly efficient solar cells. Here, we summarize the recent progress on photovoltaic performance and mechanical robustness of foldable solar cells. The key requirements to construct highly foldable solar cells, including structure design based on turning the neutral axis plane, and adopting flexible alternatives including substrates, transparent electrodes and absorbers, are intensively discussed. In the end, some perspectives for the future development of foldable solar cells, especially the standard folding procedure, improvement in the folding endurance through revealing failure mechanisms, are provided.

In this paper, a novel UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) for precision agriculture, named “Agri.q,” is presented. The Agri.q has a multiple degrees of freedom positioning mechanism and it is equipped with a robotic arm and vision sensors, which allow to challenge irregular terrains and to perform precision field operations with perception. In particular, the integration of a 7 DOFs (degrees of freedom) manipulator and a mobile frame results in a reconfigurable workspace, which opens to samples collection and inspection in non-structured environments. Moreover, Agri.q mounts an orientable landing platform for drones which is made of solar panels, enabling multi-robot strategies and solar power storage, with a view to sustainable energy. In fact, the device will assume a central role in a more complex automated system for agriculture, that includes the use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and UGV for coordinated field monitoring and servicing. The electronics of the device is also discussed, since Agri.q should be ready to send-receive data to move autonomously or to be remotely controlled by means of dedicated processing units and transmitter-receiver modules. This paper collects all these elements and shows the advances of the previous works, describing the design process of the mechatronic system and showing the realization phase, whose outcome is the physical prototype.

Plant pest spraying machines are now starting to develop using a variety of technologies ranging from diesel to electric power. However, this technology has problems such as limited fuel capacity in diesel engines and a lack of electricity demand for electric batteries. If the sprayed area is too large, the capacity for fuel and battery requirements is insufficient. In this study, we will explain how to apply solar cells to make a plant pest spraying machine so that when spraying will occur simultaneously the process of charging or charging the battery by solar power. So that the need for battery capacity is met for spraying over a large area. The process of making this tool is done by assembling several components such as solar panels, SCC (solar charge controller), spray tanks and lithium batteries.

Insect control is the biggest challenge in agriculture. It is a common practice to use a deadly chemical pesticide to protect the crop from pest damage. There are many side effects of using a chemical. Use of more pesticide results in financial burden to the farmers. Moreover, the food becomes contaminated. In organic and integrated farming by using environment friendly automated solar powered insect trap, pests can be brought under control effectively. Solar trap is very simple in construction and use. On the four-legged stand (about five-foot height), the solar lamp strips are mounted powered by battery. To refill the basin with the water the solar trap is fitted with a pump. During the evening when the harmful pests hovers the crop fields, the solar lamp will switch on automatically and attracts the insects that may destroy the crops. Attracted insects end up in a water-filled basin. Water ca be mixed with soap oil or shampoo to prevent the insects escaping from the basin. Every day, basin full of insects ca be trapped. Farmers’ job is to switch on the motor that tilt the basin to empty the trapped insects and refill the water to basin with the help of pump every day. One Solar Trap is enough for one-acre farming field. Another specialty of the machine is that it can be shipped anywhere without much difficulty. The Solar Trap can be various crops fields such as vegetables, pomegranates, grapes, cucumber, nut, coconut, paddy, sugarcane etc.

In this paper, new models of solar light trap was proposed which will be the most effective IPM tool for the monitoring of insect pests and their monitoring of insect pests and their mechanical control in the field of agriculture, provide no harm to the nature and also have low cost involvement so that it can be utilized by most of the farmers. For that purpose firstly a model of light trap box with iron structure was developed, then a solar light system including solar panel, charging unity, battery and LED bulb installed with the light trap box so that this solar light trap can monitor and control the insect pests of different crops effectively. It is the most effective IPM tool which provide better safeguard to the nature in comparison to the other method of pest control.

Farm machinery like water sprinklers (WS) and pesticide sprayers (PS) are becoming quite popular in the agricultural sector. The WS and PS are two distinct types of machinery, mostly powered using conventional energy sources. In recent times, the battery and solar-powered WS and PS have also emerged. With the current WS and PS, the main drawback is the lack of intelligence on water and pesticide use decisions and autonomous control. This paper proposes a novel multi-purpose smart farming robot (MpSFR) that handles both water sprinkling and pesticide spraying. The MpSFR is a photovoltaic (PV) powered battery-operated internet of things (IoT) and computer vision (CV) based robot that helps in automating the watering and spraying process. Firstly, the PV-powered battery-operated autonomous MpSFR equipped with a storage tank for water and pesticide drove with a programmed pumping device is engineered. The sprinkling and spraying mechanisms are made fully automatic with a programmed pattern that utilizes IoT sensors and CV to continuously monitor the soil moisture and the plant’s health based on pests. Two servo motors accomplish the horizontal and vertical orientation of the spraying nozzle. We provided an option to remotely switch the sprayer to spray either water or pesticide using an infrared device, i.e., within a 5-m range. Secondly, the operation of the developed MpSFR is experimentally verified in the test farm. The field test’s observed results include the solar power profile, battery charging, and discharging conditions. The results show that the MpSFR operates effectively, and decisions on water use and pesticide are automated.

Kale, chard, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, and spinach were grown at various positions within partial shade of a solar photovoltaic array during the growing seasons from late March through August 2017 and 2018. The rows of panels were orientated north-south and tracked east to west during the daylight hours, creating three levels of shade for the plants: 7% of full sun, 55-65% of full sun, and 85% of full sun, as well as a full sun control outside the array. Average daily air temperature at canopy height was within +\- 0.5oC across the shade conditions. Over two field seasons, biomass accumulated in correction with the quantity of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Kale produced the same amount of harvestable biomass in all PAR levels between 55% and 85% of full sun. Chard yield was similar in PAR levels 85% and greater. Tomatoes produced the same amount harvestable biomass in all PAR levels greater than 55% of full sun. Broccoli produced significantly more harvestable head biomass at 85% than at full sun irradiance but required at least 85% of full PAR to produce appreciable harvestable material. Peppers generated harvestable fruit biomass at PAR of 55% of full sun or less, but yielded best at 85% of full sun or more. Spinach was sensitive to shade, yielded poorly under low PAR, but increased biomass production as PAR increased. Microclimate variations under PV arrays influence plant yields depending on location within a solar array. Adequate PAR and moderated temperature extremes can couple to produce crop yields in reduced PAR environments similar to and in some cases better than those in full sun. Results from our study showed that careful attention must be made when developing PV arrays over the crops and when choosing which crops to plant among the arrays.

With the increasing demand for new sources of energy, solar power has become an attractive solution for the current energy crisis. Photovoltaic systems have been increasingly used in the form of solar panel arrays. However, despite the numerous advantages of solar technology, the energy-conversion efficiency of solar panels is low. Since these panels are stationary, they are also difficult to deploy and transport and are prone to damages and hindrance. The portable system prototype proposed in this paper can deploy the solar panels easily and retract them with minimal effort based on the Miura origami folding patterns and mechanical rotation of the panels. An active dual-axis solar tracking system based on tilt-and-swing mechanism is added to the system to maximize the efficiency of the solar energy conversion. This inexpensive solar-tracking system is composed of an Arduino microcontroller, photoresistors, and stepper motors. The mechanism of the proposed system is fully explained in this paper and it is demonstrated how this portable system can maximize efficiency of the energy conversion.