In the Southern Mediterranean region hilly and remote areas are afflicted with the high cost of diesel fuel, problematic supply, poor or non-existent grid connections and lack of maintenance technicians to service farm grid generation systems and machinery. A prototype Battery Powered Electric Vehicle (BPEV) charged using a solar photovoltaic array (10 kWp) was installed at a monastery situated at Achkout (Lebanon) with a total agricultural area of 50 ha, 10 ha of which was devoted to viticulture. The purpose of this was to investigate the potential for the cleaner production of power hence reducing the use of diesel fuels in agriculture. Data collected from the test site is presented and used to validate a numerical model. The numerical model was then used to extend the study further to the other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea which have different levels of solar irradiance. Currently the average cost of diesel fuel within the EU is at an all-time high of 1.32 €/L. A life cycle costing determined that if the current trends in inflation in the EU continue and that fuel costs increase by 7.5% per annum, then battery powered electric vehicles charged using solar photovoltaics are economically viable in areas of high solar irradiance. The numerical model was then used to determine the outcome of using lithium titanate batteries instead of conventional lead-acid batteries. Adoption of the described system for a 10 ha vineyard would result in annual fuel saving of 4200–5200 L of diesel depending on which location in the Mediterranean area a system such as this is installed.
Redpath, D., McIlveen-Wright, D., Kattakayam, T., Hewitt, N., Karlowski, J., & Bardi, U. (2011). Battery powered electric vehicles charged via solar photovoltaic arrays developed for light agricultural duties in remote hilly areas in the Southern Mediterranean region. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19(17-18), 2034-2048. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.07.015