PlusIQ - Agricultural Photovoltaics: Integration as a Path to Plus-Energy-Quarters
Starting point / motivation
With the Erneuerbaren-Ausbau-Gesetz - EAG, a federal law on the expansion of energy from renewable sources was enacted. It provides for an increase in annual electricity generation from renewable sources by 27 TWh by 2030. 11 TWh are to be generated from photovoltaic (PV) systems.
In Vienna alone, the total capacity of PV plants is to increase from currently 50 to 250 MWp by 2025. The required PV areas in the order of 90 to 100 soccer fields per year cannot be reasonably covered by building-based PV systems alone.
This makes the expansion of ground-mounted PV systems increasingly urgent. The necessary use of ground-mounted PV systems, together with the massive increase in PV output in the coming years, can be expected to have a significant impact on agricultural production.
The joint use of land by agriculture and agro photovoltaics (APV) is an obvious answer to the above-mentioned problem. APV allows energy production by mounting PV panels at a height that allows agricultural production below.
The concept and research on the subject have been around since the 1980s. Research activities have so far focused on the technical framework conditions and the effects on the production behaviour of plants under APV systems. However, the question of the long-term use of APV systems requires further interdisciplinary research that implements as holistic an approach as possible.
Contents and goals
With the project PlusIQ-AgrarPV, a group of scientists from the Vienna University of Technology, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the BOKU as well as the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture have set themselves the goal of developing inter- and transdisciplinary methods to clarify open questions in the domain of AgrarPV.
Within the scope of the present exploratory study, strategies and recommendations will be developed on the basis of a concrete case study, which are relevant for the designation of suitable zones for the construction of the plants, technical, legal, organisational, socio-economic and agricultural aspects.
In the first part of the project, details regarding aspects of modelling of the planned demonstrator unit will be worked upon and fine-tuned/determined. Subsequently, technical, plant-growth-related and socio-economical aspects relevant for modelling, realization, and monitoring of the demonstrator will be integratively examined. Technical aspects encompass the general design of the demonstrator unit, grid-feed-in, controlling strategies and integration opportunities in digital agriculture approaches.
Experts from the fields of plant growth and meteorology will examine the impact of agrophotovoltaics implementation on agriculture through modelling of different growth scenarios and influences on microclimate. Socio-economic aspects include the legal constraints and frameworks required for the construction and (successful operation) of Agro-PV-Units.
Furthermore, the economic feasibility and options to bring the gained electricity into the electricity market will be worked upon. Based on these efforts, the developed scenarios will be modelled and simulated via state of the art methods. Additionally, the acceptance by stakeholders and occupants, as well as the compatibility with cultural and landscape heritage will be examined in this concluding effort.
The generated results will be translated into strategies and recommendations for the planning, design, implementation and monitoring of APV as a basis for the realization of APV facilities. This will provide the basis for future studies in which the potential of agricultural photovoltaics for the realization of energy-efficient neighbourhoods in rural areas will be analysed in detail through the construction of a demonstration site.
Senior Scientist DI. Dr.techn. Ulrike Herbig, TU Wien, Institut für Spatial Planning E280, Faculty for Architecture and Planning (Interdisciplinary Research on Architecture, Cultural Heritage and cultural landscapes)
Project or cooperation partners
- TU Wien, Faculty of Informatics
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
- Austrian Institute für Technology
- Chamber of Agriculture Austria
- Figdor'sche Gutsinhabung