Can berries grow better under solar panels?

Almost 4,500 plants of redcurrants live under solar panels in a farm in the Netherlands

Festival Net Zero 2021

Renewable energy company BayWa r.e. has announced it has completed construction of its first Agri-PV project for redcurrants, a type of berries, in the Netherlands.

The firm has expanded the original installation, initially built as a pilot project last year, to a solar capacity of 1.2MW with more than 4.500 solar panels.

The solar plant now generates enough energy to power around 400 households a year.

The farm accommodates 4,500 plants in total, which are forecast to produce approximately 23 tonnes of redcurrant harvest every year.

The project was part of research on how solar panels could create a beneficial environment for crops.

Results of trials showed that the installation of solar panels created both favourable lower temperatures for the plants and better protection from adverse weather conditions.

First trials were carried out in 2019, where two types of panels were tested with raspberries.

Stephan Schindele, Product Manager Agri-PV at BayWa r.e., commented: “These pilot projects were a real success. We monitored not only the climate under the panels but also the plant health and fruit growth.

“We had already created one of the largest and most technologically sophisticated ‘fruitvoltaic’ solutions in Europe in 2020, with our 2.67MW raspberry PV installation in Babberich.

“Today, we are very excited to continue this fantastic journey and see our efforts rewarded by entering a new chapter of Agri-PV with a new berry crop in Wadenoijen.”

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