RWE pioneers a groundbreaking Agri-PV system near Garzweiler opencast mine, seamlessly merging solar power and agriculture. Completed in just five months, the 3.2 MW peak capacity demonstration plant integrates three agri-PV concepts, combining fixed, sun-tracking, and pergola-mounted solar modules. Early spring will witness the planting of alfalfa, field beans, and raspberries, initiating a five-year research initiative supported by Forschungszentrum Jülich and Fraunhofer ISE. Funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the project aims to develop management strategies for coexisting solar power generation and agriculture.
In a groundbreaking venture, RWE has successfully initiated the flow of green electricity from its innovative Agri-PV system near the Garzweiler opencast mine. This 3.2 MW peak capacity demonstration plant stands on a seven-hectare recultivation area on the outskirts of Bedburg, showcasing the harmonious integration of solar power generation and agriculture.
Constructed in a remarkably brief period of around five months, the Agri-PV system is a testament to RWE's commitment to exploring sustainable solutions at the intersection of power generation and agricultural practices. The system comprises three distinct Agri-PV concepts, each designed to facilitate both agricultural and horticultural activities on the land.
The first concept involves fixed solar modules arranged in a vertical alignment on sturdy structures. In the second variant, the modules are mounted on a movable axis, allowing them to track the sun's trajectory from east to west. This dynamic setup aims to optimize the yield of the PV system. Initial crops such as alfalfa, field beans, and fodder grass will be planted in the first year, with subsequent years witnessing the cultivation of cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, and various vegetables. Adequate space between module rows accommodates efficient harvesting.
The third variant employs a pergola-like substructure supporting PV modules, creating an ideal environment for crops like raspberries to flourish underneath. The interaction between plant growth and PV technology will be meticulously observed over several years, encompassing diverse seasonal weather conditions.
Spring heralds the commencement of research activities that will extend for a minimum of five years. This phase aims to develop effective management strategies and operational concepts for Agri-PV systems. Scientific support for the project comes from the Institute of Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia provides financial backing through the progres.nrw program, emphasizing climate protection and energy transition.
RWE's Agri-PV demonstration plant stands as a beacon of innovation, showcasing the potential for harmonizing solar power generation and agriculture. With its diverse concepts and scientific backing, the project not only contributes to sustainable energy practices but also provides valuable insights into coexisting agricultural activities. As the Agri-PV system enters the research phase, the years ahead promise a wealth of knowledge and advancements in the synergy between renewable energy and agricultural productivity.