If farmers give up their land for a solar park.

Solarmodule im Solarpark Klein Rheide in Schleswig-Holstein Bild: dpa

Landwirte können ein Vielfaches verdienen, wenn sie ihre Felder an Photovoltaik-Investoren verpachten. Das ist gut für die Energiewende – sorgt aber für neue Konflikte und wirft die Frage auf: Wofür sollen Ackerflächen genutzt werden?

HIf Bernd Starick, the farmer, had been asked five years ago if he would give up his field for a solar park, he would have declined. Today, he sees things differently. „For years, there have been increasing uncertainties and cost pressures in agriculture. We need to completely rethink,“ he says. Photovoltaic systems on the field could stabilize the farms economically and ensure long-term predictable yields. „That is what we are missing.“

Starick is the chairman of the Neißetal Farmers Agricultural Cooperative in Lausitz, a farming operation in southern Brandenburg near the Polish border. He has now leased a portion of the 2500 hectares of land to the Lausitz energy company Leag, which has built a solar park on it. It was not easy for him to take land out of production. However, on the corresponding areas – former mining areas with difficult soil quality – he had not earned anything from agriculture for ten years. On the rest of his fields, crops such as wheat, rye, barley, corn, and grasses are grown.