German renewables developer Baywa has demonstrated the ability of solar panels to alleviate the effects of climate change on a redcurrant crop in the Netherlands, confirming some of the claims made about agrivoltaics.

Aside from reducing carbon emissions, the 1.2 MWp array at Rini Kusters’ fruit farm in Wadenoijen has also been observed to minimize excessive high temperatures on the crop and protect the plants from damp.

“Weather extremes are becoming more frequent, and they are harmful to plants,” Kusters explained.

“The growth of fungus on the fruit as a result of an excessively wet environment, for example, is an increasingly common problem.”

According to the farmer, the extension of what started as a pilot project last year has paid off. “On the hottest day of the year, under the solar panels, it was 10 degrees [Celsius] cooler. The plants stayed dry even on the wettest day. It’s a solution in which I firmly believe.”

Baywa, which revealed yesterday that it plans to install 35 MWp of European agrivoltaics by next year, first put its solar array to the test by protecting raspberries from the elements in Babberich, also in the Netherlands.

With the support of Wageningen University & Science, the program was then extended to several pilot schemes, including Kusters’ seed, according to Baywa in a press release announcing the technology.

The solar array will take the place of the poly tunnels that are traditionally used to cover such crops, and Baywa said it is currently researching its use on other crops in Europe, including apples and pears.

“With our 2.67 MWp raspberry PV installation in Babberich, we had already built one of the largest and most technologically advanced ‘fruitvoltaic’ solutions in Europe in 2020,” said Stephan Schindele, product manager for agri-PV at BayWa.

Source – here