A one-of-a-kind greenhouse that operates exclusively with renewable energy sources and has third generation photovoltaics on its roof has impressed a group of 20 students from around the world.

The students visited the greenhouse as part of the International Conference ‘New Technologies and new amendments in the agricultural world of Greece’ organised by IAAS Greece during the last week of April.

The students, who came from Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Morocco, Mexico, and the Netherlands, were given a tour of the greenhouse and learned about how it works and how energy is stored.

During their visit, the students were introduced to Greek agrovoltaics and were particularly impressed by the translucent flexible electronics manufactured by the Greek company Organic Electronic Technologies (OET).

Eugenia Athanasiadou, an agronomist at OET, explained how the greenhouse works and the benefits of the triple land use that results from the use of agrovoltaics.

OET started experimental cultivation in 2015 through the European project Agrores. The OET photovoltaics have an adaptive transparency, allowing only the photosynthetically active radiation used for plant photosynthesis to pass through it.

The agrovoiltaics as seen in a greenhouse. Photo: Supplied

According to Athanasiadou, the third generation photovoltaics enhance plant growth and increase crop yields by up to 30 per cent in hydroponic tomatoes.

These results were evidenced by experimental cultivation already done in this greenhouse, and their use has been tested in other vegetables such as peppers, eggplants, and more.

During the conference, Athanasiadou referred extensively to the use of agrovoltaic systems, which are being used with great success in Greece, and the applications of said systems produced in Thessaloniki.

In addition, it was announced that through the European project Flex2Energy, in which OET is the coordinator, a unit for mass production of third generation photovoltaics will be created, and their applications will be developed in greenhouses, buildings, and cars.

International Association of Agricultural and Allied Sciences Students (IAAS GREECE)

IAAS Greece is the International Association of Agricultural and Allied Sciences Students. The IAAS Greece World Association started in Thessaloniki as an idea of a small group of students of the Faculty of Agriculture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Now, IAAS Greece has over 80 members mostly in Northern Greece.