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Feasibility and Economic Viability of Horticulture Photovoltaics in Paras, Maharashtra, India
Abstract and Figures
In the ongoing energy transition in India, photovoltaic (PV) plays a crucial role which becomes evident when looking at both governmental PV targets and recent developments. While land-neutral roof-top PV accounts for 40% of Indian’s 2022 development goals, with 60% the largest share of all PV technologies is designated for utility-scale ground-mounted PV (GM-PV). Despite cost-effectiveness speaking in favour of GM-PV, generally, a major drawback of GM-PV is the high land usage with approximately 1.2-1.7 hectare per installed MWp for recently installed systems (Shiva and Sudhakar 2015). This seems particularly relevant in the context of Indian’s high population density and – in several regions – its respective fierce scarcity of land. Recently, these conflicting interests of land use became apparent at a site in Paras, Akola district in Maharashtra, Western India, where the major power generating company in the state, the Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd. (Mahagenco), considered installing a GM-PV system on more than 100 hectare (ha) of fertile agricultural land which today serves as the livelihood of more than 100 farmers and their families. To seize opportunities of reconciling agricultural activities and PV power generation at the same area of land, Mahagenco and its project investor, the German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), requested the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE (Fraunhofer ISE) to assess the feasibility of a dual land use to which in the following we refer as Horticulture PV.
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