Combining Solar Energy and Agriculture – Sweden's Largest Agrivoltaic Park

Combining Solar Energy and Agriculture – Sweden's Largest Agrivoltaic Park

Sweden's first large-scale agrivoltaic solar park is currently under construction in Hova, near Mariestad. The solar park is a collaboration between Svea Solar and Ekoväx, Sweden's largest solar cell provider and its largest ecological farmer, aiming to integrate solar energy with rapeseed (raps), wheat (vete), and pasture (vall) cultivation.

The term "agrivoltaic" was one of the new words in the Swedish dictionary in 2022, signifying the combination of solar energy and agriculture. Between the rows of solar panels, rapeseed, wheat, and pasture will be cultivated, with the first harvest expected in 2025. In addition to the crops, the agrivoltaic park will generate 8 GWh per year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 1600 households, covering an area of 13 hectares, approximately 19 football fields.

"We already have several solar parks combined with pasture. In several solar parks, we have observed clear results indicating that grazing enhances biodiversity and provides dual benefits for the solar park. We actively work to find various solutions to maximize the land's utility, making us particularly proud to announce Sweden's largest agrivoltaic park," says Pieter Godderis, Head of Solar Parks at Svea Solar.

The solar park will feature the largest installation in Sweden with single-axis trackers, allowing the panels to be angled for easy passage of agricultural machinery between the rows of solar panels. Ekoväx plans to cultivate rapeseed, wheat, and pasture, with the first harvest expected in 2025. Despite the presence of panels, Ekoväx anticipates a substantial yield, while the solar park will generate a significant amount of renewable electricity.

"Organic farming is close to our hearts. In addition to transitioning our own operations at Slätte Gård, we have developed several products for organic farming to facilitate others in doing the same. Therefore, it felt natural for us to cultivate within a solar park to explore how energy production and farming can collaborate effectively for the future," says Emil Olsson, CEO of Ekoväx.

The park will also be included as a research subject in SOLVE, a consortium of universities, companies, and public sector organizations focused on research projects related to solar energy in the Swedish power grid. The research aims to enhance understanding of how solar energy production and traditional farming can coexist in agrivoltaic solar parks to maximize land utilization.

The completion of the park is scheduled for the summer of 2024.