Fraunhofer ISE lands funding for agrophotovoltaics research at German apple orchard

An image of a previous Fraunhofer ISE pilot plant that monitored the yield of crops grown under PV modules. Image: Fraunhofer ISE.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) has received €740,000 (US$866,429) in financing to explore land use conflicts between solar farms and agricultural land.

Funded by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Environment, the four-year initiative will research the growth of apple trees under a PV system in the German district of Ahrweiler.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

An important aspect of the project is how the modules protect the fruit trees from extreme weather as a result of climate change.

Rhineland-Palatinate environment minister, Ulrike Höfken, said alongside the green energy benefits, the modules act as protective roofs against hail and excessive sunlight. She said that similar projects could also be conceivable in other agricultural areas, including chicken farms.

Höfken added that the project is intended to counter land use conflicts between solar systems and agricultural land with new knowledge, techniques and approaches to stakeholder and citizen participation.

Other partners in the project include the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, BayWa and Elektrizitätswerke Schönau.

Fraunhofer ISE has already made steps to prove the viability of dual land use after completing a successful trial in 2017. The year-long study at a pilot project near Lake Constance in Germany used bifacial solar modules to provide as much sunlight as possible to crops such as wheat, potatoes and celeriac by limiting the shading impact on crop growth.

Fraunhofer ISE director Prof. Hans-Martin Henning said at the time that agrophotovoltaics (APV) has the potential to open up “urgently needed” space for the PV expansion in Germany. He added: “At the same time, APV can mitigate the conflicting interests between agriculture and open space PV systems for viable land.”

26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

July 23, 2024
119 bids were successfully awarded contracts, for a total of 258.5MW capacity. Successful bids ranged between €0.0795/kWh and €0.1019/kWh, with a volume-weighted average price of €0.0894/kWh.
July 22, 2024
Balcony installations have been growing in Germany since the government streamlined the registration process in April.
July 17, 2024
Germany has been consistently adding over 1GW of solar PV capacity every month since March 2023, and has passed a total of 90GW capacity.
July 10, 2024
The US generated 236.12TWh of power last year, while in Germany over 12% of power was produced by solar, the highest among all G7 countries.
July 5, 2024
Germany generated more power from renewable energy sources in the first half of 2024 than at any other time in its history, according to a report from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).
July 3, 2024
Germany has awarded 512MW of capacity to solar-plus-storage projects in its most recent Innovation Auction.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA