New research identifies potential for 51 TW of agrivoltaics in Europe


Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have investigated different types of agrivoltaic configurations and found considerable differences in potential across Europe.

They considered two different characteristics of the feasibility of agrivoltaic systems: the potential of PV systems and their influence on the underlying farmland. They focused on three different setups: optimal tilted, horizontal single-axis tracking, and vertical bifacial.

The team developed a model that simulates the shadows on solar panels and on the ground, allowing to accurately analyze the reduced production output due to shadow losses for each simulated hour, rather than just assuming a general loss factor.

They found that the axis tracking setup produces a higher electricity yield, but when taking into account the daily generation patterns of the different configurations, the vertical bifacial produces a higher price-weighted electricity yield for some countries.

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Their target was to maintain at least 80% of the land suitable for crops. In this case, for the high-radiation demand crops, the annual electricity yield for the tilt and bifacial vertical configurations is similar and limited to 30 kWh/m2. This corresponds to a capacity density of around 30 W/m2, which they used to estimate the potential for argivoltaics in different European regions.

“The potential for agrivoltaic is enormous as the electricity generated by agrivoltaic systems could produce 25 times the current electricity demand in Europe,” the researchers said in “Comparative analysis of photovoltaic configurations for agrivoltaic systems in Europe,” which was published in Progress in Photovoltaics. 

Overall, the potential capacity for agrivoltaic in Europe is 51 TW, which would result in an electricity yield of 71,500 TWh/year, the researchers calculate. Their analysis also finds that the eligible area is distributed quite unevenly across Europe, with some countries, such as Norway, having as little as 1% of their total area suitable for agrivoltaics. In other countries, such as Denmark, this percentage is as high as 53%.

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