Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Photovoltaic systems on agricultural land


Innovative Photovoltaik-Konzepte (c) ValentinValkov -,  jeson -, Fly and Dive -
(© ValentinValkov -, jeson -, Fly and Dive -

Photovoltaics on agricultural land:

Economy of different concepts

In order to implement the energy transition, more electricity from renewable energies is needed. Photovoltaic systems on agricultural areas are becoming more and more important in this respect. In order to produce food and electricity on the same area, we are investigating new photovoltaic concepts.

Background and Objective

Due to the energy transition, the expansion of electricity generation in photovoltaic systems (PV) is steadily increasing. The question arises as to how much agricultural land will be required in the future for electricity generation in photovoltaic systems and how the land requirement can be reduced. Against this background, we want to determine the current and future land requirements for different energy scenarios and photovoltaic concepts. In addition to classic ground-mounted PV, we are primarily looking at the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of new agrivoltaic concepts. Agrivoltaic combine agricultural land use with electricity generation in photovoltaic systems. One example is the system in Heggelbach, which allows conventional arable farming under elevated PV modules.


Based on the “Marktstammdatenregister”, we evaluate the current stock of PV on open spaces in Germany. Based on this, we use GIS analyses to determine how much agricultural land is currently being used for PV electricity generation and how the land was previously used. In order to be able to evaluate the land use by PV systems in terms of climate and energy policy, we compare energy yields, CO2 avoidance performance and CO2 avoidance costs with other types of renewable energy generation on agricultural land.

On the basis of existing energy scenarios for 2050, we then derive the land requirements for different PV concepts. We also analyse to what extent new agrivoltaic concepts could be integrated into farms and what synergy effects result for different types of farms. For this purpose, we calculate the profitability of different concepts under changed framework conditions. From the profitability determined, we can derive possible consequences, including for the land market.

Data and Methods

We determine the current land requirement for ground-mounted PV based on data from the “Marktstammdatenregister” and with the use of GIS analyses. For the economic analysis of future agrivoltaic concepts, the results of experimental and pilot systems are used. In discussions with experts, we want to find out whether and how agrivoltaic concepts can be implemented and integrated in farms.

Our Research Questions

  • How much agricultural land is currently required in Germany for ground-mounted PV?
  • How can photovoltaic systems and agricultural use be combined in order to reduce competition between uses?
  • How economical are agrivoltaic systems compared to classic ground-mounted PV?
  • How do different PV concepts and expansion scenarios affect the land market?


Involved Thünen-Partners


8.2020 - 3.2025

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing