France embraces solar with viticulture, arboriculture and market gardening


From pv magazine France.

Specialist Sun’Agri is working with regional climate and energy body the Agence régionale Énergie Climat (AREC) Occitanie to realize seven agrivoltaic installations allocated in the latest national tender for innovative PV projects.

The market gardening, viticulture and arboriculture installations, which will have a total generation capacity of 12 MW, were awarded in a tender held by energy regulator the Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE) and will require investment of around €16 million.

Most of the projects, which range in scale from 575 kW to 3 MW, are in the south of France, particularly the departments of Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Gard and Hérault. The arrays will be installed at no cost to the businesses concerned and financed by the sale of the electricity they generate.


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The projects will involve solar panels being installed above crops on mobile, blind-like louvers at an appropriate height to permit crops to grow, agricultural machinery to gain access and airflows to continue, according to French agrivoltaic business Sun’Agri. The panels will be controlled by algorithms and regulated according to solar radiation and panel orientation or the shade requirement of crops, taking into account growth models and ideal weather conditions.

The seven agrivoltaïc ​​projects were developed under an agreement signed on October 10 between Sun’Agri and AREC Occitanie which aims “to identify and financially support the relevant projects of agrivoltaïc ​​demonstrators in the region; [and] to facilitate the development of new projects by drawing up a charter of good conduct for players in the emerging sector of agrivoltaism,” said Sun’Agri.

A Sun’Agri demonstration project has been in service since 2018 at the Nidolères wine estate in Tresserre, in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, with 7.5ha of vineyard converted to sustainable viticulture for three grape varieties: Marselan, Chardonnay and Grenache blanc.

Some 39 projects were allocated in the CRE’s latest innovative solar tender, with a total generation capacity of 104 MW, of which 40 MW are supplied by agrivoltaics facilities. The allocated projects will supply electricity for an average final price of €82.80/MWh.

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