A Dutch-based pilot combining agriculture and solar power

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Swedish energy company Vattenfall has been granted permission to build a project in the Netherlands that plans to combine solar and agriculture with the latest example of how renewable energy and agriculture can potentially work together. I did.

In a statement earlier this week, Vattenfall’s head of solar solar development, Annemarie Schouten, explained how the project “alternate rows of strips and panels where different crops are grown for organic farming.” explained.

The pilot, known as Symbizon, will last for four years and will be located in Almere, east of Amsterdam. Funding is provided by the Dutch Ministry of Economy.

Schouten said he would use double-sided solar panels to ensure “sufficient light yield.” With such a setting, the panel can also “capture reflected light from soil, crops, and adjacent rows and use it to generate solar energy.”

The plan has taken a step forward, but Vattenfall has not yet confirmed whether the project will actually proceed. A decision on this is planned by the end of 2021. If it gets a green light, construction work will begin in 2022.

Once the scheme is fully realized, it is set to involve a wide range of stakeholders. These include, among other things, the independent research organization TNO, which develops “solar tracking algorithms” for tracking energy and crop yields.

The idea of ​​deploying solar panels on farmland has been around for years. This single strand is called agrivoltyx and is also called agrophotovoltyx.

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According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany, Agrivoltyx “allows dual use of land for agriculture and solar energy harvesting.”

The idea behind this concept dates back to the early 1980s and is attributed to Fraunhofer ISE founder Adolf Goetzberger and his colleague Armin Zastrow.

According to the institute, agricultural equipment increased from about 5 megawatts in 2012 to about 2.9 gigawatts in 2018.

Solar panels can also be used to support the daily activities of people working in agriculture. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that “solar technology is becoming a viable option for both large and smallholder farmers.”

In 2020, CNBC’s Sustainable Energy reported on how a Zimbabwean-based farmer, Cheneso Ndlovu, used solar technology to help grow agricultural products.

“We use solar-powered boreholes for gardening for watering,” she said.

“I planted tomatoes in a small patch of water, but I realized it was thriving, so I decided to grow other vegetables,” she added. “We use water for other household needs such as laundry.”

A Dutch-based pilot combining agriculture and solar power

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