“Agrovoltaics”: In Germany, fruit farms blend orchards with solar

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It may sound like a vision from the solarpunk genre of eco-futurist science fiction, but in Germany researchers are investigating whether solar panels can be used to protect apple trees from the extreme rain, frost or heat caused by climate change. The five-year project by BayWa r.e., a renewable energy company, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, is part of a growing “agrovoltaics” movement, which aims to show how land-hungry solar plants can be combined with agriculture or designed to provide shelters where wildlife can flourish. The German and other similar projects show that farming and the energy transition can be natural climate allies.


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