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Groundbreaking Ceremony in Austria Launches Agri Photovoltaics Test Site

Neusling, Germany, May 10, 2022 – IDEEMATEC and EWS Consulting cooperation sees commencement of a 5.5 hectare research facility, Sonnenfeld Bruck an der Leitha, in Austria. A groundbreaking ceremony took place this week to mark the commencement of this state-of-the-art Agri PV research facility, with commissioning due to be completed in September.

The site is divided into eight research zones, each with their own unique configuration in terms of row spacing, module type and orientation. Over the next 3 years, research will be carried out with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences into which plant cultures and forms of cultivation are best suited to arable land and grassland with simultaneous PV power generation. Both electricity and agricultural yields will be investigated to determine the best way to optimize the double use of land for a sustainable approach to agriculture. 

The Ideematec Horizon L:TEC® tracker forms the basis of the Agri PV solution, with adjustments made to cater for the requirements of the land and for the type of agriculture. The two-in-portrait system is proven in the field, and was the starting point for this Agri PV project. The tracker has been adjusted to allow rotation of up to 70°, which allows access for large agricultural machine. The tracking system offers the possibility of adjusting the module tables accordingly, so that management between the rows of modules is possible. 

Farmers can use a smartphone app to switch the modules to what is known as “grassland” harvesting mode. In this mode, the modules stand horizontally. Damage to the modules, e.g. from falling rocks, is therefore minimized. Crucial to this concept is the optimal and flexible choice of row spacing between the rows of modular tables in order to provide sufficient space for agricultural machinery. These distances can be adjusted to management needs as early as the planning stage. The “arable farming” harvesting mode, where the module tables are opened up to 70° to each other, enables the greatest possible passage light, adapted to a wide variety of harvesting machines.

Ideematec and EWS teams have been working intensively on the design. Both partners have used many years of experience from their respective specialist areas in this process. This lays a strong foundation for a long-term partnership, based on mutual trust and appreciation, for the implementation of many EWS Sonnenfelder® in Austria. In parallel with the implementation of the first reference system in Bruck an der Leitha, the first commercial projects are already being planned and prepared for implementation. The potential for Agri PV systems and the interest of the regions and communities are enormous.