Anna Melkonyan, 4th year student of the Faculty of Food Technology, Agricultural Food Processing Technology Department, Fermentation Production Technologies and Winemaking, ANAU
Topic: The possibility of a combined system of receiving electricity with a solar plant installed on the same plot of potato – the possibility of using the so-called photovoltaic agriculture (APV) in the Republic of Armenia.
The purpose of the AGRI CAMP Program Grantee Anna Melkonyan’s research is to compare the yield of potatoes obtained as a result of using a solar photovoltaic plant with the yield of potatoes obtained under traditional conditions and to find out the perspective of using APV in the Republic of Armenia.
Why did you decide to choose this research topic?
- Scarcity of land resources for agriculture is considered a problem facing humanity today. Our republic is also not exempt from this ecological challenge, which requires finding urgent solutions. Photovoltaic agriculture (APV), which is already widely used in developed countries, is considered one of them. It represents the combination of agriculture with solar power generation. It was very interesting for me to study and understand whether photovoltaic agriculture can be a promising direction for Armenia, because the territory of Armenia is located in the zone of high intensity of solar radiation.
- Through the student grants of the AGRI CAMP Program I was given the opportunity to combine my studies with scientific work.
- The research works are carried out on the plot of land adjacent to the private house in the city of Ashtarak, Aragatsotn region, where a solar plant is installed. Agila, Gala, Vega potato varieties are planted under the solar station and outside the shadow of the solar station on the same size plot of land in similar rows and under the same conditions.
How did your initial assumptions change during the process of research?
- Since this is my first experience, the most important thing is the transformation of my mind and change of my attitude towards scientific research in general. I used to think that it is a kind of simple, superficial, and quick process. But the very first experience of mine has shown that it requires much more deep and consistent mental and practical efforts.
What new experiences have you obtained through participation in the AGRI CAMP Program?
- In the process of the research, first of all, I got knowledge about potato crop types, planting, vegetation, diseases and their control, and also studied the possibilities of using alternative energy sources, namely solar energy in agriculture.
- In addition, I gained practical experience, because I personally participated in soil cultivation and potato planting.
How does the scientific environment contribute to the research process?
- I believe that the scientific environment greatly contributes to the research process. I especially value the contribution of my supervisor. She is quite experienced in the field of solar energy application which is a driving force for me and a factor that makes my work much more
- We also receive support from the Solaron company for the preparation of solar plants, both in the form of data provision and other types of works and services.
- Standard Dialog company helped us with the analysis of potatoes needed for the research and we looking forward to the further fruitful cooperation with this company.
How will the successful completion of the research affect your future professional career?
- The successful completion of the research will allow me to clarify my future plans and orient myself in terms of my further professional career.
- In addition, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to analyze the research results, formulate some scientific ideas, and develop skills in writing scientific papers.
Supervisor: Arusyak Hakobyan, PhD, docent, ANAU
Activities outlined under this objective of the USAID-funded AGRI CAMP Program tend to empower ANAU students’ engagement in Research and Development.