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Implementation of agrophotovoltaics: Techno-economic analysis of the price-performance ratio and its policy implications


  • Schindele, Stephan
  • Trommsdorff, Maximilian
  • Schlaak, Albert
  • Obergfell, Tabea
  • Bopp, Georg
  • Reise, Christian
  • Braun, Christian
  • Weselek, Axel
  • Bauerle, Andrea
  • Högy, Petra
  • Goetzberger, Adolf
  • Weber, Eicke


Rising demand for solar power generation will lead to increased land use competition, and thus to potential economic and social conflict. A solution to this challenge is to produce food and energy within an agrophotovoltaics (APV) system. Since 2017, governments in Japan, France, Massachusetts (USA), South Korea, and China have introduced policies supporting APV implementation. Governments considering APV implementation – e.g. in India and Germany – for evidence-based policy making are demanding information on how levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of APV differs from that of conventional ground-mounted photovoltaics (PV), as well as on how additional costs associated with APV installation relate to the benefit of maintaining agricultural activity under APV. Data for a techno-economic price-performance ratio calculation has been retrieved from an inter- and transdisciplinary APV case study in Germany. We observed that the LCOE of APV with €0.0828 kWh−1 is 38% higher than that of ground-mounted PV, resulting in an annual cropland preservation price of €9,052 ha−1 a−1. The annual revenue of potato and winter wheat production under APV resulted in a performance of €10,707 ha−1 a−1 and €1,959 ha−1 a−1 respectively, leading to a beneficial price-performance ratio of 0.85 for potato production and, with a ratio of 4.62, a disadvantageous result for winter wheat. Overall, APV is not necessarily recommended in crop rotating systems. However, in combination with permanent cultures – e.g. berries, fruits, or wine grapes – as the price for these types of applications is lower, while at the same time providing higher performance by optimizing techno-ecological synergies.

Suggested Citation

  • Schindele, Stephan & Trommsdorff, Maximilian & Schlaak, Albert & Obergfell, Tabea & Bopp, Georg & Reise, Christian & Braun, Christian & Weselek, Axel & Bauerle, Andrea & Högy, Petra & Goetzberger, Ado, 2020. "Implementation of agrophotovoltaics: Techno-economic analysis of the price-performance ratio and its policy implications," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 265(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:265:y:2020:i:c:s030626192030249x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.114737

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    References listed on IDEAS

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