FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Agrivoltaics or Agri-PV is a method of generating solar energy while still enabling farmers to produce food or feed on the same farmland. This still young form of renewable energy production eliminates the increasing competition for land between agriculture and the energy industry. It therefore makes an important contribution to greater climate protection and food security. At the same time, Agri-PV strengthens farmers by offering them additional income opportunities through the generation of green electricity.

But this double harvest is not the only advantage: the partial roofing of the crops offers better protection against excessive heat, heavy rain, hail and frost. Especially in the case of sensitive crops such as berries, this additional protection is remarkable in the face of climate change, while many other crops have even seen increased yields.

Valuable arable land always remains agricultural land with Agri-PV, while generating a second return in the form of electricity at the same time. This is the crucial difference to a ground-mounted PV, which does not allow dual use since no more agriculture can be carried out underneath. Another distinguishing feature is that the land does not have to be redesignated as commercial land. This facilitates permits and also offers tax advantages. Agri-PV thus represents an important component for the planned expansion of photovoltaics by 80 percent in Germany in the coming years, as the available land for classic ground-mounted PV is already becoming scarce.

We do not seal the ground with our systems as we use a patented technology: the Spinnanker. This substructure allows the installation of the system without having to lay concrete foundations in the soil. While 15 percent loss of area is legally permissible for the assembly of the modules, our system concept only requires 8-10 percent thanks to this technology. This has benefits for biodiversity as well, because we can compensate a large part of these areas by planting flowering strips.

Farmers should ensure need for food as optimally as possible, while at the same time we want to generate green electricity. By enabling both on the same area, our PV-systems can produce not less, but more food. Simply because less land is lost to energy production. As an additional benefit, we protect agriculture from crop failures caused by climate change. This creates a win-win situation between food security and the energy industry.

The plants are never completely covered, so the yield can basically be controlled by the degree of shading. Due to the high potential offered by Agri-PV, many studies are being conducted worldwide in order to gather long-term information. In Germany, for example, the Frauenhofer Institute is researching this field, with whom we are in close contact.

Bifacial, i.e. translucent glass-glass modules, like the ones we use, have proven particularly effective for homogeneous light management and high energy output. With shade-tolerant plants such as potatoes or spinach, an increase in yield has been observed. Sensitive fruit crops also do well with Agri-PV, protecting the harvest from heat damage and other extreme weather events, as they now occur more and more frequently in our regions, too.

The concept of our system types was developed in close consultation with farmers and agricultural machinery cooperatives. While a span of 12 metres was chosen for our first pilot system, experience has shown that this span is only sufficient for small farms. Therefore, in the new version, we have opted for a clearance width of 18 metres and a clearance height of 6 metres. This allows the use of most conventional large agricultural equipment.

AgroSolar Europe is specialized on the field of agrivoltaics. Due to the amount of knowledge needed to combine agriculture and solar energy technology we focus on that. However, our systems can also cover car parks. This is done by our partner Hilber Solar with 30 years of experience in the market.

When it comes to roofing motorways, there are still many safety and practical aspects to consider currently still under investigation. These range from possible vehicle impact scenarios to questions of maintenance or snow clearance. Moreover, from a length of 80 m, the supporting structures would have to be classified similarly to tunnels, which is why the construction would have to meet higher safety requirements, which in turn would make the costs more expensive. But we are also keeping an eye on this with our partner Hilber Solar.

We support the consistent expansion of solar technology. That means we also support the consistent expansion of roof surfaces with solar technology. The German government wants to expand photovoltaics by 80 percent to 200 gigawatts by 2030. Not every roof is suitable for solar expansion, just as not every agricultural area is suitable for Agri PV. Therefore, a mix of all solar options is needed. AgroSolar Europe has specialized in Agri PV in order to contribute to the energy transition.

Anyone who wants to lease out land for an agri-photovoltaic system (agri-PV) can claim different tax rules for inheritance, gift and property tax. This is because land on which photovoltaic systems is located, which are to be designated as category I or II agri-photovoltaic systems according to DIN SPEC 91434, is considered agricultural and forestry property. This means: They are subject to property tax class A.

According to this categorisation, areas with ground-mounted photovoltaic systems do not fall under categories I or II according to DIN SPEC 91434. Therefore, they are to be assigned to the immovable property which, according to German tax law, is subject to property tax class B.

Agri-PVs are defined as plants with the following characteristics, among others:

  • Agricultural production as main use
  • Electricity production via PV system as secondary use
  • Yield of the crops after the construction of the Agri-PV system equals at least 66 % of the reference yield
  • for Agri-PV systems of category I: elevation at clear height (min. 2.10 m) and agricultural cultivation under the system
  • for category II Agri-PV systems: ground-level elevation and agricultural cultivation between the rows of systems.
  • The loss of usable agricultural land due to superstructures and substructures must not exceed a maximum of 10 % and for category II max. 15 %.

The tenancy agreements for open space PV usually run for a period of 30 years. In many cases, it can be assumed that after the end of the lease period, the area of an open space PV will lose its arable status and grassland conversion will only be possible against compensation.

The lease periods for land for an agri-photovoltaic system are usually identical. But the area never lost its arable status during the lease period, as it was used for agriculture throughout.