German power provider tests vertical agrivoltaics


From pv magazine Germany

Augsburg-based power provider Lechwerke (LEW) announced it is testing two small pilot vertical agrivoltaic systems with an output of 3 and 6 kW, respectively. The systems are located next to existing solar parks in Biessenhofen and Gersthofen, in Germany's southern state of Bavaria. The bifacial solar modules are installed vertically at a height of almost 3 meters.

With these projects, LEW wants to gain initial experience with agrivoltaic systems and compare their performance with that of conventional ground-mounted projects. The company plans to use the data for a larger project in the Unterallgäu region, which is already being planned.

In the case of the vertically installed systems, the approximately 1-meter-wide strip of meadows under the modules should remain uncultivated. In this way, they could be laid out as flowering areas and create ecological micro-habitats, LEW stated.

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“With the test systems we would like to gain knowledge about the power generation of such systems — in particular how much power the special modules can deliver in direct comparison to conventional modules and that over the course of the day and year,” said LEW project manager Sigrid del Río. “There are already individual projects of vertical agrivoltaic systems, but unfortunately hardly any findings on comparability with south-facing PV systems,” she explained. “We want to use the data obtained from our test systems for future projects.”

LEW and the LandSchektivenEnergie consulting network are currently examining various areas for the larger pilot plant in Straubing and the Unterallgäu district.

The pilot project is also to be scientifically monitored in order to find out how the combination affects the usability of agricultural machines, the agricultural productivity of the area and the microclimatic influence of the agro-photovoltaic system on the area.

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