BayWa re and its Groenleven subsidiary are building an 8.7 MW agrivoltaics project to support raspberry cultivation, one of the largest projects in Europe. They expect to complete the project in the first quarter of 2024.
BayWa and its Groenleven subsidiary plan to build a pilot power plant in 2020 on a farm in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands, combining electricity production from solar and fruit farming. It is becoming one of the biggest projects in Europe. More than 24,000 elevated modules will be installed, with a total capacity of 8.7 MW.
“Due to positive experiences with the agricultural electricity application, (the farm owner) decided to equip his entire raspberry farm with solar panels,” BayWa said.
BayWa said it believes agrovoltaics could meet challenges in Europe such as land scarcity, extreme weather conditions and growing demand for solar energy.
“The expansion of solar energy must be in harmony with agriculture and nature,” said Martin Schindele, director of product management at Agri-PV. “Our flagship project proves that solar modules protect crops and enable a sustainable growing environment while reducing the use of single-use plastic covers.”
However, agricultural electricity projects are more expensive and require legal and financial support. Benedikt Ortmann, BayWa re’s global head of solar energy projects, pointed out the need for legislative and financial support to promote agricultural electricity in Europe.
BayWa has completed 14 agricultural electricity projects in Europe, where fruits are produced simultaneously. It has also started building an “interspace” agroelectric project in Spain, where solar modules are installed close to the ground, parallel to the farmland.