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Potential analysis of AgroVoltaics in Austria in the context of climate change – identification of sustainable areas with special respect to technical, economic, environmental and social aspects

Project Leader
Bauer Alexander, Project Leader
Duration:
01.10.2020-31.03.2023
Programme:
Austrian Climate Research Programme (ACRP)
Type of Research
Applied Research
Staff
Kral Iris, Sub Projectleader
Gronauer Andreas, Project Staff
Krexner Theresa, Project Staff
BOKU Research Units
Division of Agricultural Engineering
Institute for Sustainable Economic Development
Institute of Landscape Planning
Subproject(s):
Potential analysis of AgroVoltaics in Austria in the context of climate change – with special respect to environmental, economic and social aspects - Mechanization & Potential analysis (PA³C³ )
Subproject(s):
Potential analysis of AgroVoltaics in Austria in the context of climate change – with special respect to environmental, economic and social aspects - Landscape impacts and social acceptance (PA³C³-LAND)
Funded by
Klima- und Energiefonds, Leopold-Ungar-Platz 2 / Stiege 1 / 4.OG / Top 142, 1190 Wien, Austria
Abstract
The project PA³C³ describes the potential of AgroVoltaics in Austria in the context of climate change. It focuses on the combined use of agricultural land for production of food/feed and solar electricity as countermeasure to future impacts of climate change, as well as maximization of land utilization. The coming decades will pose the challenge to meet both increasing demand of agricultural products and electricity, being complicated by changing conditions due to climate change. Expected increase of average temperature, drying trends paired with extreme precipitation events and other climatic changes force agricultural management to adapt. AgroVoltaics is a promising pathway for adaptation. The electrical output can possibly substitute the decreased output of agricultural products. Furthermore, the photovoltaic panels can have a positive effect on the plants below, e.g. reducing peak solar radiation and irrigation demand, being a countermeasure to the negative effects of climate change. The expansion of renewable energy production also has effects on environmental impacts. Beside the agrotechnical and economical challenges of changing management, a broad participation of stakeholders is crucial due to the decentralized structure of AgroVoltaics. To investigate these complex relationships, PA³C³ combines the important aspects for a successful implementation of AgroVoltaics in Austria. Serving this purpose, three scenarios are established: (1) unmodified agricultural management simulated with EPIC, (2) complete substitution of agriculture by photovoltaics simulated with PV-GIS, (3) combined land use, i.e. AgroVoltaics, investigated with life-cycle-assessment. The scenarios will be compared for the base year 2020 and 2050 under regards of projected climate impacts. Since the reliability of agricultural management is strongly dependent on local conditions, the results are resolved on a 500-meter grid over Austria, based on GIS-data such as topographic attributes, soil conditions, actual land management, weather data, etc. The acceptance of these scenarios by stakeholders will be investigated with a “serious gaming”-approach. Combining the results of all researched aspects, the potential for AgroVoltaics can be classified with a high geographical resolution.
Keywords
Climate change; Photovoltaics; Renewable energy;
AgroPV; AgroVoltaics; climate change ; Potential analysis;
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