“Solar energy and agriculture can go hand in hand,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. She sees a “triple benefit” in which the combination increases the yield of agricultural crops, reduces water consumption, and produces renewable electricity.
It is within this framework that the European solar industry organization is launching a new working group that will be devoted to agrivoltaics. The technology, which can be applied to many geographic areas, such as islands or dry climates, supports agriculture – one of the sectors most affected by climate change, while also accelerating the energy transition. “This is what a climate-neutral Europe looks like, where local agriculture and low-cost solar energy may become the engines of a sustainable European economy,” said Hemetsberger.
The working group will be chaired by French project developer Amarenco, which wants to push the sector to “the top of the European agricultural political agenda” while also encouraging “the adoption of agri-PV solutions throughout Europe by focusing on reforms for the common agricultural policy and the ‘farm-to-table’ strategy [whose objective is to produce food in the most environmentally friendly way possible]. ”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has indeed said that guarantees for a climate-friendly food and agricultural system will be at the heart of the European Green Pact, thus creating a unique opportunity for the development of agrivoltaics. It is important to develop sustainable agri-PV infrastructure, practices, and policies so that agricultural activities and electricity production can mutually benefit from this new tech combination, said Alain Desvignes, the CEO of Amarenco.
“Thanks to the sharing of knowledge and best practices between the agri-PV sector and agricultural experts, the EU can take the lead in agri-PV technologies and set a global standard for this segment,” Desvignes added.
The task force’s first kick-off meetings are scheduled for the beginning of April. However, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, it is not clear if they will still be held, Amarenco told pv magazine.