BayWa r.e. and project partners open innovative agro-photovoltaic plant at Lake Constance
On 18 September BayWa r.e. and its project partners celebrated the inauguration of one of the first German agro-photovoltaic research plants.
The pilot project APV-RESOLA in Heggelbach on Lake Constance enables the twin-utilisation of agricultural land, which makes efficient use of resources to harvest both electricity and agricultural products. BayWa r.e. supported the joint project led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) by developing the system and managing the construction.
Matthias Taft, Board Member of BayWa AG, responsible for the energy business explains, “even after 25 successful years in the solar sector we were able, with the help of our strong partners, to contribute real pioneering spirit to this research project. This demonstrates once again the innovative potential of renewable energies and the significance that promoting the energy transition – both holistically and in terms of sustainability – has for us.”
The new APV system technology makes it possible to grow shade tolerant produce under a photovoltaic plant designed specifically for this purpose which is positioned on a substructure approximately six metres in height. As an industry partner, BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH is supporting the development, the electrical design and the construction. In doing this, the solar experts are integrating PV modules with bi-facial technology. The fact that these modules are able to generate power from both sides makes them particularly suitable for use in the research plant in Heggelbach, covering around 3000 m².
Christof Thannbichler, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. Solar Projects GmbH summarised, “in terms of saving resources, the twin-utilisation of agricultural land in industrial countries and developing nations is a sensible course of action. This also makes agro-photovoltaic technology an interesting venture for us with our global presence as project developers and as traders in PV components. This is an area of business we will expand on an international scale in early 2017.”
Apart from ISE and BayWa r.e., other project partners include EWS Schönau, the Heggelbach Farming Community, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Regional Association of Lake Constance/Upper Swabia and the University of Hohenheim. The project is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Research for Sustainability (FONA).