Groundbreaking ceremony in Austria launches Agri Photovoltaics test site

By Ideematec

A groundbreaking ceremony took place this week in Sonnenfeld Bruck an der Leitha, Austria, to mark the commencement of a state-of-the-art Agri PV research facility, the result of cooperation between Ideematec and EWS consulting, with commissioning due to be completed in September.

The site is divided into eight research zones, each with its own unique configuration in terms of row spacing, module type and orientation. Over the next 3 years, research will be carried out with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences into which plant cultures and forms of cultivation are best suited to arable land and grassland with simultaneous PV power generation. Both electricity and agricultural yields will be investigated to determine the best way to optimize the double use of land for a sustainable approach to agriculture.

The Ideematec Horizon L:TEC® tracker forms the basis of the Agri PV solution, with adjustments made to cater for requirements of land and type of agriculture. The two-in-portrait system is proven in the field, and was the starting point for the project. The tracker has been adjusted to allow rotation of up to 70°, to allow for access by large agricultural machinery, with the system offering the possibility of adjusting the module tables, so that management between the rows of modules is possible.

Farmers can use a smartphone app to switch modules to what is known as “grassland” harvesting mode. In this mode, the modules stand horizontally, meaning that potential damage is minimized. Crucial to this concept is the optimal and flexible choice of spacing between the rows of modular tables in order to provide sufficient space for agricultural machinery. These distances can be adjusted to management needs as early as the planning stage. The “arable farming” harvesting mode, where the module tables are opened up to 70° to each other, enables the greatest possible passage of light, adapted to a wide variety of harvesting machines.

Ideematec and EWS teams have been working intensively on the design, both partners counting on many years of experience from their respective specialist areas in the process. In parallel with the implementation of the first reference system in Bruck an der Leitha, the first commercial projects are already being planned and prepared for implementation, with interest from regions and communities in Agri PV systems potentially enormous.

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