European Consortium seeks to streamline agrivoltaics design

A European consortium including Germany’s Fraunhofer ISE is researching suitable crop and PV system combinations, conducting tests under Nordic conditions, and developing software to expedite adoption.

Since early this year, a European team has been working on a two-year research project with a budget of €2 million ($2.05 million) to investigate agricultural crop yield, PV production, and water consumption with a plan to apply the findings in new models and software.

The research, which includes a pilot plant to test solutions under conditions in the Nordic region of Europe, covers the use of both overhead PV and ground-mounted PV, specifically the type with PV installed between rows of agricultural crops, in vertical, fixed tilt and tracker-based arrays. The study will also consider other factors, such as water consumption.

The software will support a range of crop and PV system combinations, including an agrivoltaics mapping function, with crop and energy yield estimate support. It will be compatible with the platform developed by Norway’s Glint Solar, whose software is used by project developers for solar plant siting, design, and collaboration. In addition, some of the results of the research results will be published.

The members of the consortium include Glint Solar, France’s Kilowattsol, a French agrivoltaics specialist and co-founder of France Agrivoltaisme, a trade body for agrivoltaics, Danish Renewables, a Lyngby, Denmark-based PV project and engineering firm, and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE).

Xavier Daval, CEO of Kilowattsol said in a statement that the dual use of land for solar PV and farming “must ensure that PV on agricultural land is contributing to solving the problem, not exacerbating it”.

This project is one of the latest European agrivoltaics-related research initiatives. For example, Fraunhofer ISE is working on a pilot in Germany to use PV panels as shade for young fir trees. In France, efforts to align business and agricultural interests are underway, as well as projects to improve the economics of certain crops with PV energy productions and to use PV to enable improved olive cultivation.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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