Under GAEC 8 (Healthy Agricultural Ecological Status), a set-aside area may only be grazed or mown in September. For this agricultural policy SUNfarming combines flowering meadows with agriphotovoltaics.
Over 40 different wildflower seeds are contained in the special mixture. Among them are various types of clover, meadow bluebell, viper's bugloss, corn poppy, true parsnip and meadow sage. The wildflower component in the SUNfarming mix is REWISA certified (Regional Wild Plant Seeds). Various grasses in the mixture increase forage quality and grazing suitability. They improve soil structure, suppress weeds and provide adaptation to dry or wet soil.
For biodiversity areas with natural species diversity, Agri-Photovoltaic plants are suitable, which are approx. 2.1m at the lowest edge. In general, sown wild herbs should reproduce themselves by seed. Cutting or mulching should therefore only take place after the seeds have set or not at all.
Due to the shading and the resulting cooler climate, evaporation under the panels is considerably reduced. Even between the rows of panels, the shadows cast by the module table counteract drying out. Under the panels, flowering plants develop more in the second year of standing and can flower for a very long time. The rainwater distribution technique has a positive effect; in this area, plants thrive better on light soil.
"From my point of view, it is worthwhile under Agri-PV systems to use a very versatile mix that can adapt to the environment (different shading, different soil, different climate depending on the location even within the system). Not only single grasses/flowering plants should be used. Drought-tolerant plants can be used as well as moisture-loving ones," explains Michael Bleiker, SUNfarming project manager at the Rathenow Research and Innovation Centre.
The wildflower mix produced for SUNfarming can now also be purchased under the trade name SUNfarming B1 from „Samen Schwarzenberger“.