RWE commences operation of 3.2MW demonstration agrivoltaics project in Germany

Jan 23, 2024


A 3.2MW solar agrivoltaics (agriPV) project operated by German utility RWE for demonstration has started supplying electricity to the grid in Germany.


Built on about seven hectares of recultivated land at the edge of the Garzweiler opencast mine in North Rhine-Westphalia, the project will host important application research and show how solar power generation and agriculture can be co-developed at the site. Research activities will start in spring and will last for at least five years.


German national research institution Forschungszentrum Jülich and research organisation Fraunhofer Institution for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) will provide scientific expertise for the project.


RWE said the project, funded by the North Rhine-Westphalia state, will also develop suitable cultivation methods and three operational concepts for agrivoltaics systems.


Solar panels are fixed and mounted vertically on the supporting structure, on a movable axis which allows them to follow the course of the sun from east to west, and elevated on a substructure similar to a pergola.


Additionally, the interplay between plant growth and solar PV technology will be monitored under different seasonal weather conditions over the years, according to RWE.


PV Tech examined the rising interest in agrivoltaics in an article published last year. Several important developments in agrivoltaics took place in 2023, such as the European Commission approving a €1.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) investment scheme in November 2023 to support the development of agrivoltaics in Italy.


PV Tech Premium also examined agrivoltaics deployments from a number of angles, including the emerging field of urban or rooftop agrivoltaics. The section also interviewed US agrivoltaics developer Bluewave about the lessons that the growth in agrivoltaics can teach the wider solar industry.

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