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Optimal Crops Identification for Agrophotovoltaic Applications

  • Award: $15000 USD
  • Challenge type: Ideation
  • Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


Agrophotovoltaic is making inroads in Italy following the investment in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) of the Next Generation EU funds, which allocates around 2% of agricultural land to the installation of photovoltaic systems. The aim of the measure is to combine solar panels and food crops on the same unit of land in order to maximize the use of land and RES share while maintaining its fertility. A2A therefore aims to identify the best crops in Italy that can be coupled with PV systems without being impacted or benefiting from the presence of PV system. Agrophotovoltaic structures can differ from standard ground-mounted PV ones, in fact they can be designed taller, movable, semitransparent, … to maximize the crops growth, hence taking into account various factors such as their diffusion in the agricultural business, cultivation techniques and the performance of the crop.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



Agrophotovoltaic is today an increasingly emerging business in Italy, especially following the huge investments of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) that in 2021 has allocated about 1.1 billion euro for its development. The objective of the investment in agrophotovoltaic is to install, when fully operational, a production capacity from agrophotovoltaic plants of 1.04 GW, with an average annual production of about 1,300 GWh per year and a consequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of about 0.8 million tons of CO2, without the compromise of land dedicated to agriculture.

To succeed in doing this, it is necessary to identify the crops which can best adapt to the presence of photovoltaic panels, and even taking advantage of them thanks to the presence of PV system. A2A therefore aims to identify the best crops that can grow together with future agrophotovoltaic plants which will be designed with the objective of maximizing the cultivation of crops, hence taking into account various factors such as their diffusion in the agricultural business, cultivation techniques and the performance of the crop.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 24-August-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.



Employees of A2A Group and their families are not eligible to receive awards for this Challenge.


The A2A Group is the largest Italian multi utility, at the forefront of territorial services and technological solutions. We design smart and sustainable cities, with respect for the citizens, we are protagonists of energy transition, and we implement the principle of the circular economy in all of our activities. With a far-reaching strategic plan, we manage the generation, sale and distribution of electricity and gas, district heating, waste collection and recovery, e-mobility, public lighting, and the integrated water services.


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.