Agrophotovoltaics allow harvesting food and electrons on the same acre

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In Germany, an agrophotovoltaics pilot project demonstrated that photovoltaics and photosynthesis can coexist on the same acreage. Led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, solar modules are installed directly above crops covering one third hectare and one year’s worth of electrons and produce have been harvested.

“The project results from the first year are a complete success: The agrophotovoltaic system proved suitable for the practice and costs as much as a small solar roof system. The crop production is sufficiently high and can be profitably sold on the market,” explains Stephan Schindele, project manager of agrophotovoltaics at Fraunhofer ISE.

“The crop yield of clover grass under the PV array was only 5.3 percent less than the reference plot,” reports Prof. Petera Högy, agricultural expert at the University of Hohenheim. “The yield losses for potatoes, wheat and celeriac are between 18 to 19 percent and therefore somewhat higher.”