Peer-reviewed paper: Landscape user experiences of interspace and overhead agrivoltaics

Posted by on March 1, 2024 in Geen categorie, Homepage, Publications, Research, Teaching

Agrivoltaics, the combined use of land for agricultural and electricity production, is gaining popularity due to its multifunctional use of space. In February 2024, Kitti Biró-Varga, together with Igor Sirnik and Sven Stremke, published their research on landscape user experiences of agrivoltaics in the Energy Research & Social Science journal. The publication resulted from research conducted in the NRGlab, part of Wageningen University & Research. The study examines the effects of two agrivoltaic system types on landscape quality through a survey involving landscape users and residents in Gelderland, the Netherlands. The findings reveal a decrease in the experiential value, one of the three dimensions of landscape quality, for both system types. The study proposes recommendations for decision-makers to consider influential landscape quality factors and encourages participatory methods that involve local residents in the development of future agrivoltaic projects.

The paper has already been featured in the PV magazine.

Abstract
As renewable energy adoption accelerates, solar power plants are being installed at a higher-than-ever rate, frequently occupying agricultural lands. Agrivoltaic systems integrate crop cultivation and electricity production on the same land, providing a solution for the otherwise competing land use demands between energy generation and food production. The implementation of agrivoltaic power plants, however, potentially impacts landscape quality, consequently raising concerns among local inhabitants and other landscape users. This study examines the effects of two types of agrivoltaic systems on landscape quality and how people perceive these transformed landscapes. Eleven landscape quality factors are assessed in a survey with residents from Culemborg and Wadenoijen, the Netherlands, to compare their landscape experience before and after the construction of agrivoltaic systems.
The results indicate a decrease in the experiential value after the implementation of agrivoltaic systems, while the future value shows a slight increase. The use value – the third dimension of landscape quality – increases for the interspace agrivoltaics and declines for the overhead system. Environmental impacts, wildlife habitats as well as health and well-being are rated as the most important factors for the design and implementation of agrivoltaic systems by landscape users. Although respondents support farmers’ involvement in the energy transition and the multifunctional character of agrivoltaics, they express concerns about the impact on wildlife and the decline in the attractiveness of the landscapes. This study suggests directions for further research on the landscape-energy nexus and provides recommendations for the development of landscape-inclusive agrivoltaic power plants.

Reference: Biró-Varga, Kitti; Sirnik, Igor; Stremke, Sven (2024). Landscape user experiences of interspace and overhead agrivoltaics: A comparative analysis of two novel types of solar landscapes in the Netherlands. Energy Research & Social Science, 109, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2023.103408

You can access the paper here (open access).

Figure: Ranking the importance of 11 landscape quality factors combined for Culemborg and Wadenoijen.