An increasing population and limited arable land area endanger sufficient and variegated food supplies worldwide. Greenhouse cultivation enables highly intensive plant production and thereby enables the production of abundant fresh vegetables and fruits. The salient benefits of greenhouse cultivation are supported by ingenious management of crop environments, assisted by fossil fuel and grid electricity supplies. To reduce dependence on traditional energy resources, various studies have investigated exploitation of renewable energies for greenhouse environment management. Among them, solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies are anticipated to feed electrical energy to greenhouse appliances for microclimate control. This study proposes a venetian-blind-type shading system consisting of semi-transparent PV modules as blind blades based on micro-spherical solar cell technology to achieve greenhouse shading and electricity production concurrently. In response to the solar irradiance level, the PV blind inclination was altered automatically using a direct current (DC) motor driven by electrical energy generated by the PV blind itself. The PV blind was operated continuously during a five-month test period without outage. Moreover, the PV blind generated surplus electrical energy of 2125 kJ for blind system operations during the test period. The annual surplus energy calculated under the present experimental condition was 7.8 kWh m(-2) year(-1), suggesting that application of the PV blind to a greenhouse roof enables sunlight level control and electrical appliance operations in the greenhouse with a diminished fuel and grid electricity supply, particularly in high-insolation regions.
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