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Energiequelle launches a joint research project with Finnish universities to combine solar energy and agriculture

The Agrivoltaic project aims to investigate the optimal operating model for placing solar panels on farmed land

Bild: PixabayBild: Pixabay

Helsinki/Finland (renewablepress) - The University of Helsinki, Turku
University of Applied Sciences and the renewable energy project planning
company Energiequelle are jointly launching a research project to investigate
the combination of solar energy and agriculture in Nordic conditions. The
optimal operating model with regard to the placement of solar modules on
cultivated land will be investigated in field trials. At the same time, more
environmentally friendly racks for solar modules and the possibility of
intelligent use on farms, for example by automating the irrigation of crops,
are being investigated. This agrivoltaic project is the first of its kind in

Coexistence of solar energy and agriculture 

In agrivoltaic projects, the solar panels are not installed on the roofs of
buildings. Instead, the panels and agricultural activities are located on the
same area, e.g. on fields or berry farms. This allows both forms of farming to
coexist. In this case, no forest or arable land needs to be taken out of use
for the solar installations. The model is intended to develop solutions for
the current challenges in the field of renewable energies: the expansion of
wind and solar energy, the efficient use of land and the preservation of local
agriculture and food production. This is why Energiequelle has teamed up with
universities: "We want to create an operating model in which renewable
energies and agriculture join hands to support and strengthen each other
summarizes Karl Schultheis, Head of New Business Development at Energiequelle
in Finland.

Schultheis also hopes that solar energy will reduce the risks for farmers by
reducing the economic losses caused by extreme weather events. "In addition,
solar panels have the potential to create so-called microclimates, similar to
greenhouses, which can mimic different environments. This could, for example,
promote the growth of certain plants in the Nordic countries and increase
yields, which could reduce dependence on food imports
," explains Mika
Suontlahti, who is writing his thesis at Turku University of Applied Sciences
as part of the research project. 

"An operating model optimized for Finnish conditions, in which solar power is
generated in parallel with agriculture, would contribute to the implementation
of Finlands sustainability and climate protection goals,
" explains Antti
Lajunen, the project leader at the University of Helsinki, who is an assistant
professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. "Solar energy is
expected to be one of the fastest growing forms of energy production in the
world and also in Finland. Placing solar panels on cultivated land would
contribute to sustainable land use and counteract biodiversity loss and

There is a possibility of establishing photovoltaic pilot plants with
plantations as early as next year, but the final location and timetable are
still open. At this stage, it is still a limited preparatory project that will
allow for larger field trials and more in-depth research on the subject. 

Energiequelle has been successfully active on the Finnish market since 2015,
has already connected five wind farms to the grid there and has more than
2,500 MW of wind and solar projects in the pipeline. With almost 40 employees,
the expansion of renewable energies in Finland is being continuously driven
forward with offices in Helsinki and Vaasa.

Energiequelle GmbH
Susanne Tauke
Energiequelle, PV, Agrivoltaic

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