BayWa r.e installs Agri-PV in the Netherlands and seeks farmers in France

German renewable energy project developer BayWa r.e. Renewable Energy GmbH has expanded its agricultural photovoltaic (agri-PV) activities. The company has completed a plant under which currants are grown on an orchard in Wadenoijen, the Netherlands. The fruits are now protected from the weather, the farmer can dispense with foil tunnels and at the same time generate electricity. BayWa r.e. and its Dutch subsidiary GroenLeven have expanded the plant, which was built as a pilot project in 2020, to a capacity of 1.2 MW.
Initial pilot tests were conducted with raspberries in 2019 and expanded to other pilot projects in 2020 in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research, the company said. These were primarily intended to test the efficiency of combining solar systems with the cultivation of different types of soft fruit.
BayWa r.e. is currently planning further agri-PV projects in Europe with a total capacity of 35 MW by 2022, together with other fruit producers. For example, the company plans to develop an agri-PV project in the French municipality of Saubens on the outskirts of Toulouse in the Haute-Garonne region of France, and is still looking for farmers to settle on the 27-hectare site. The site has previously been used for conventional arable farming.
A beekeeper and a sheep farmer have already chosen to farm meadows shaded by solar panels. Two to four other vegetable gardeners could receive technical and financial support.
According to the plans, of the total area four hectares could also be used by market gardeners, another three hectares for soft fruit under elevated solar power modules, and four hectares for vegetable cultivation. BayWa r.e. is committed to helping with the installation. The land will be provided free of charge for a period of 20 years.

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