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RWE's Agrivoltaics plant in Germany starts supplying green electricity to the grid

RWE’s innovative agrivoltaics (Agri-PV) plant in Germany has commenced supplying green electricity to the grid, marking a significant milestone after a swift construction period of just five months. Situated on approximately seven hectares of recultivated land at the edge of the Garzweiler opencast mine in North Rhine-Westphalia, the demonstration plant combines crop cultivation with solar power generation.

The unique project, blending agriculture and solar power, aims to showcase the potential synergy between the two sectors. In the coming years, the site will undergo essential research activities, spanning at least five years, to develop suitable cultivation methods and value-adding operational concepts for Agri-PV systems. Scientific expertise for the project is provided by the Institute for Plant Sciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. The initiative is financially supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of the program for climate protection and the energy transition.

The demonstration plant boasts a peak capacity of 3.2 megawatts (approximately 2.5 MWac) and features three technical Agri-PV concepts, enabling both agricultural and horticultural use of the land. The first configuration involves fixed solar modules mounted vertically, while the second employs a movable axis to track the sun’s movement from east to west, maximizing photovoltaic system yield. The third solution elevates photovoltaic modules on a pergola-like substructure, creating space for cultivating plants such as raspberries. The interplay between plant growth and photovoltaic technology will be closely monitored under various seasonal weather conditions.

In the upcoming spring, the first seedlings will be planted, initiating the research activities that will span crop cultivation and solar power generation. The project aims to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of integrating agriculture and solar energy, paving the way for sustainable and efficient land use practices.


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