The technology was a developed by a collaboration between ULMA Agrícola and Tecnalia. The product is undergoing testing in Derio (Bizkaia, Basque Country). Over the summer, the group tested the system on a greenhouse growing tomatoes and peppers – these are two of the most commonly grown greenhouse crops worldwide, and they require a large amount of light. The team measured the most critical parameters of the crops, such as radiation, humidity and temperature. They compared crop quality and PV production to data obtained under a normal glass roof.
According to ULMA Agrícola, the summer tests achieved positive results, including a 15 percent annual increase in PV production over a standard fixed-tilt PV system. Testing for performance under winter conditions has been under way since mid-November, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of March. Once the results are validated in the field, ULMA Agrícola aims to have a product ready to be marketed by the second half of 2012.
ULMA Agrícola is a member company of the Mondragon Corporation, a federation of worker-owned cooperatives that have a unique business structure, based on democratic principles and cooperative ownership. Mondragon is the seventh-largest corporation in Spain, and the largest business organization in the Basque region.