Biodiversity and photovoltaics combined on one area
RWA Solar Solutions has implemented a pilot project that is unique in Austria. A large-scale photovoltaic system combined with biodiversity areas enables energy production in harmony with nature. For this purpose, a photovoltaic system with approx. 10,000 solar panels was erected on the premises of Garant Tiernahrung in Pöchlarn. On an area of five hectares, a total of 4.1 MWp of power are being operated, directly using half of Garant’s electricity consumption.
The “Eco-Solar-Biotope Pöchlarn” is divided into two areas. 90 percent of the area is covered in south-facing panels on a fixed slope. The ground underneath was planted with a species-rich seed mix and the entire site was bordered with a biodiversity hedge, thus creating habitat for insects, birds, butterflies, amphibians and small mammals. The special mounting method using pile-driven profiles allows rainwater to flow between the PV modules, thus avoiding soil sealing. This biodiversity area will be scientifically evaluated by the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (Boku) over the next few years.
On the remaining area, three different models of agricultural photovoltaics are tested. In this sense, the plant in Pöchlarn is a role model. The “migratory crop” with rotating panels for optimal cultivation with tractors, “southern crop” for use with combine harvesters and “power crop” for fruit trees and shrubs. RWA Solar Solutions offers farmers a full range of services, from planning and construction to operation and marketing of the energy. Crops and soil are protected by the panels from weather conditions such as sunlight, heavy rain and hail. The areas are scientifically supervised by the Francisco Josephinum.
RWA Solar Solutions and Frutura cooperate in the field of agricultural photovoltaics
The company Frutura, producer and Austria’s largest marketer of fruit and vegetables, was won as a partner for the cultivation of the agricultural area.
The Ecosolar Biotope Pöchlarn combines a unique photovoltaic system with biodiversity areas and a test facility for agricultural photovoltaics. The goal of the project is sustainable power generation in harmony with nature and agricultural use. This enables a significant increase in space efficiency. The concept specifically focused on practicality. For this reason, RWA Solar Solutions was also looking for a competent partner to manage the test facility.
Frutura tests cultivation with apple trees
Oliver Eisenhöld, Division Manager Energy RWA Raiffeisen Ware Austria: “We are very pleased to have won the company Frutura as a partner for the use of the test area. The coming challenges in terms of climate change and the energy transition can be minimized by concepts such as agricultural photovoltaics. In this way, we want to support the regional supply of food and independent energy in the long term.”
The cultivation of apple trees is now being tested on a defined reference area directly under the photovoltaic system.
“Frutura is a pioneer in sustainable agriculture. With the use of geothermal energy, we have set new standards in the year-round, resource-saving production of fruit and vegetables. We are taking the next innovative step by using photovoltaic systems to protect our apple crop. The cooperation with RWA Solar Solutions is an example of how we can make the world a better place together without having to sacrifice quality of life or efficient production,” says Fritz Häupl, Head of Strategic Procurement at Frutura.
Concept to start of construction: April 2019 to Nov 2020
Start of construction until completion: Nov 2020 to Sep 2021