- How can farmers benefit from BayWa r.e.’s agrivoltaic systems?
Our Agri-PV systems make the best use of the synergy between crop production and solar power generation. With Overhead-PV crops are protected from extreme weather and their growing conditions can be more carefully curated. With interspace-PV soil erosion can be minimized, rain water harvested for dry periods and a favorable micro-climate established.
- What are the advantages of partnering with BayWa r.e.?
Over 30 years’ experience in renewable energy give us a unique perspective among agrivoltaics companies. We’re pioneers in dual-use land solutions, with a strong track record in Agri-PV and Floating-PV systems.
We’re a full-service provider with a solid financial foundation. Our parent company, BayWa AG, generated turnover of approximately 19.8 billion euros in 2021 and has been in the agricultural sector since 1923.
- Does Agri-PV make farming operations less profitable?
No. We conduct a break-even analysis for all crops as part of our strategy framework. Profit margins for both farming and solar power generation have to be positive. Every project we implement aims to provide added value for farmers.
- Does Agri-PV make it harder to farm the land being used?
No. Solar panels have to be installed and distributed across the overall project area in such a way that the land can continue to be used as it was previously. The vertical clearance of the Agri Solar system must comply with the laws on occupational health and safety. Panels must be mounted in such a way that the land can still be worked.
- How do you make sure enough light will reach the crops when installing overhead-PV?
Each project is designed around the requirements of the site. Panel transparency is tailored to the crops being produced, ensuring positive growing conditions.
- Regarding crop changes, what restrictions are there once overhead-PV-panels are in place?
Our specially designed transparent solar panels are ideal for berries like raspberries, currants, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. The substructure can also be designed to make cultivation in soil possible. In the case of cultivation in a substrate, crop rotation plays a role in soil exhaustion. The same is true for perennial crops, like espalier fruit or wine grapes. These crops stay in place for over 15 years before they’re replanted or grafted.
- Will my crops get enough water underneath their overhead agrivoltaic systems?
Water availability is adapted to the growing conditions of the crop in question. We ensure a uniform distribution of rainwater for the crops beneath the overhead Agri-PV system, this can be optimised through extra technical equipment. Beneath an Agri-PV system there will always be some areas that aren’t covered by solar collectors.
- Can Agri-PV help tackle soil erosion?
Yes. We offer technical solutions to help with this. We place panels at an optimal distance apart, collection basins and draining equipment can be used for rainwater. Systems for distributing rainwater can also prevent the formation of icicles in winter.
- Can an Agri-PV system be completely removed again after it is installed?
Yes. Agri-PV systems can be fully removed to restore the land to its original state. Any options for agricultural use remain available after the system is dismantled. We take steps to prevent negative impact on the soil from our operations; we use special tyres or moveable tracks for our machinery. We also take care to install systems outside of the growing season.
- What’s the minimum height at which an Overhead-PV system can be mounted above my crops?
The solar panels have to be installed with a clearance of 2.1 meters so that the land can continue to be used as it was previously, for the most part.
- What foundations are laid for an Agri-PV system, how is it anchored?
There are various construction methods that allow both temporary and permanent fixture in soil or soft ground. These secure foundations take into account all of the important aspects of static equilibrium and stability. Foundations for agrivoltaic systems are always built to be fully removable.
- Is Agri-PV a proven technology?
Yes. Agri-PV requires no new technologies, it’s a new application of existing and proven concepts. We’ve installed more than 1.2 GWp of ground-mounted PV capacity. Our operations and maintenance teams guarantee smooth operations for the project’s entire lifecycle. Returns, risk, and administrative expenses are similar to ground-mounted projects.
- What’s the average service life of an Agri-PV system?
Like our ground-mounted photovoltaic projects, our Agri-PV systems have a service life of over 30 years.
- Who’s responsible for the operation and maintenance of an Agri-PV system?
Experts from BayWa r.e. see to operations and maintenance. Our teams already have experience of wind and solar farms with a total capacity of more than 10 GW. Our central control room in Munich monitors all systems 24/7.
- What potential do Agri-PV systems have in Germany?
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE estimates the technical potential for Overhead-PV alone in Germany at around 1,700 GWp. Currently, 14% of agricultural land is already used for the cultivation of compatible crops. In contrast, only 4% of German farmland could cover our entire electricity demand.
- How expensive is energy from Agri-PV systems compared to ground-mounted systems?
Agri-PV is currently more expensive. As the technology progresses, these costs will fall considerably. Until then, it’s important to have subsidies for Agri-PV, like those in the Netherlands and France, to help meet the great demand that exists in agriculture.
- What has to happen for Agri-PV to gain a foothold in Germany?
The biggest hurdle is currently a lack of legal and regulatory framework. Germany should:
- Recognize that Agri-PV doesn’t take away agricultural land in order to reassure EU direct payment to the farmer
- Take up Agri-PV as a privileged measure in BauGB §35
- Alter the current promotion scheme in renewable energy law. Instead of promoting both Agri-PV categories within one tender, Interspace-PV should be taken into the tender for ground mounted PV to open area restrictions