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Agrivoltaics are growing in Scania, Sweden – PV4All study visit

23 May 2024
Agrivoltaics is the dual use of land for both solar energy production and agriculture. This combination of land-use can be a solution to the competition over land in the countryside of Scania, Sweden.
Technical details

This land-use conflict comes from the fact that the region has a large deficit in energy production, but maintaining the top-quality farmlands of Scania has a significant role in Sweden’s capacity for food production.

Knowledge-Sharing for Landowners

In the project PV4All, the partner Sustainable Business Hub and associated organization Solar Region Skåne arranged seminars and study visits about agrivoltaics for Scanian landowners together with The Federation of Swedish Farmers.

“It is a mistake to believe that landowners always consider it beneficial to use their farmland for solar energy instead of farming”, said Erik Baeksted Jörgensen, CEO of Råbelöf Estate. “But it varies case by case how much a landowner would gain from agrivoltaics compared to simply having a solar park”, explained Bengt Stridh from Mälardalen University during a seminar with 25 farmers in Sjöbo in Scania.

Technology and Economics vary

The latest solar modules are often placed vertically with solar cells on both sides. By placing them in an East-West direction, both sides are exposed to sun throughout the day which increases the total energy production.

There are many technical solutions for combining solar cells in farming – for example, they can be placed with a larger distance between modules. This allows animals to graze, and farming machines can drive between the rows of solar cells to maintain crops. Modules can also be raised up in the air with scaffolding to free the ground for crops. Each solution has its benefits and drawbacks in terms of economics, energy production and farming production.

Legal Conditions in Sweden

Land that is used for solar modules is today categorized as industrial land by the Swedish Tax Agency. If landowners use their farmland for agrivoltaics they thus lose certain agricultural subsidies. On the other hand, income from the energy production is often expected to balance out this potential loss. It needs to be further investigated in Sweden whether subsidies could be provided for agrivoltaics.

Are Agrivoltaics the Future?

It is likely that more pilot projects for agrivoltaics will develop in Sweden as the market is maturing and awareness is growing among farmers. More knowledge is however needed, for example regarding what crops would be more suitable to combine with solar modules in the Swedish climate.

Several pilot projects for agrivoltaics are currently under development in Scania:

Support to Learn More

If you want to explore options for solar modules or agrivoltaics, there is support available.

  • The Federation of Swedish Farmers has a solar guide accessible for their members. The tool is a guide for agreements between landowners and solar companies, to support discussions around land lease and agreements.
  • Solar Region Skåne and Sustainable Business Hub have arranged seminars about technology solutions, leasing and economics for solar energy and agrivoltaics for landowners in Scania within the project PV4All. If you want to know more about solar energy and agriculture in Skåne, both Solar Region Skåne and The Federation of Swedish Farmer offer resources and contacts that can help you forward.