Photovoltaic panels as shading resources for livestock

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Elsevier B.V.



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Based on our search, we believe that this is the first paper to evaluate the use of photovoltaic panels as shade resources for livestock. Photovoltaic panels can provide artificial shades to protect livestock against intense solar radiation while serving as a clean energy source, reducing CO2 emission, and providing an additional source of income to farmers. These benefits foster sustainable livestock farming practices. In this study, we (1) determined livestock shade preference for photovoltaic panels and the classical 80%-blockage cloth material, and (2) quantified the reduction in radiant heat load provided by these shade structures. To determine the shade preference, the behavior of five Corriedale lambs and six Corriedale ewes were observed in a paddock with two shade structures (one with photovoltaic panels and another with an 80%-blockage cloth). The following behavioral activities were determined using the instantaneous scan sampling method each 10-min from 07:00 h to 17:00 h: grazing, ruminating, idling, lying, standing, under the sun, under the shade from photovoltaic panels, and under the shade from cloth. To correlate animal behavior with environmental conditions and to quantify the reduction in radiant heat load provided by these shade structures, the following meteorological variables were recorded: solar radiation (total and short-wave), air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and black-globe temperature (in the shades and in the sun). We observed that the animals spent less than 1% of their time under the shade from cloth compared to 38% under the shade from photovoltaic panels and 61% exposed to the sun. Sheep preference for shade projected by photovoltaic panels might be explained by the reduced radiant heat load (approximately lower by 40 W m(-2)) compared to that from the cloth. When the intensity of solar radiation increased from 250 to 850 W m(-2), the time the animals spent outside the shades decreased from 96.7 +/- 3.6% to 30.2 +/- 6.3%, which was coupled with a similar increase in the time spent in the shade from photovoltaic panels (from 13.0 +/- 3.3% to 69.3 +/- 6.2%). For the same increase in solar radiation, the energy generated (integrated over 5-min) by the photovoltaic panels increased from 38.8 +/- 5.9 to 197.9 +/- 3.8 kWh. Over a period of one year, an electric energy of 5.19 MWh (monthly average of 432.33 kWh) was generated and 2.77 tons of CO2 were not emitted to the atmosphere. In economic terms, the electric energy generated in one year was equivalent to a saving of $740. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




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Journal Of Cleaner Production. Oxford: Elsevier Sci Ltd, v. 258, 9 p., 2020.

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