Swedish project for a fossil free and electrified vegetation maintenance in solar parks receives government funding

Husqvarna, Alight and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have joined forces on a  project that aims to develop and validate autonomous electrified cutting of vegetation in solar parks to remove fossil fuels from solar park maintenance.
Swedish project for a fossil free and electrified vegetation maintenance in solar parks receives government funding
Courtesy of Alight.

The project has received 4 million SEK in funding from Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency).

Green innovation to remove fossil fuels and in the long run completely switch to the use of renewable energy, is in growing demand. Large solar parks have the potential to be fully fossil free, but they need to be managed by cutting the vegetation to avoid shading the panels, which results in production falls, and to avoid that woody vegetation damages the solar panels. Those mowers and machines are currently generally powered by diesel, but could now be replaced by new technology.

This project is the first of its kind within fossil free mobile work machines deployed in solar parks and will run August 2020 - December 2022. The project consists of knowledge building, implementation, execution, and evaluation, and is now in the first phase. The implementation of the autonomous mower in the solar park will happen in spring 2022. Researchers at SLU will collect data on site during the whole trial period to generate new knowledge about how it can create added value in the form of biodiversity.

“For a sustainable and fossil free future we need not only a rapid transition to and addition of new renewable energy, but also that the industry applies tech innovations to replace work machines run on fossil fuels with electrified machines” said Harald Överholm, CEO of Alight. “I am very proud to set bold ambitions for green innovation by testing new solutions in partnerships with industry leaders like Husqvarna and having researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences evaluating and qualifying the results. The solar energy industry is growing rapidly and we hope the results can be applied across the industry to optimize the management of solar parks from both an economic and environmental point of view.”

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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

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