Agrivoltaics for apricots

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From pv magazine France

Solveo Energies has inaugurated an agrivoltaic demonstration project in Rivesaltes, in Pyrénées-Orientales, southwestern France. The 247 W system is deployed across 3,500 m2 of land. The farm, like everywhere in the region, faces drought and must adapt to climate change.

Solveo Energies has equipped the system with the Cultiveo Dynamic algorithm, which allows microclimatic regulation to be carried out by favoring shade or light according to the agronomic needs of the orchard. It uses several sensors that are installed under the structure to monitor the climatic environment and tree activity in real time.

“We give priority to agriculture, with light sharing designed and managed to preserve, or even improve in the event of an intense climatic episode, agricultural production conditions,” said Pierre Guerrier, deputy general manager of development for Solveo Energies. “This effort leads us to adapt the conditions for photovoltaic energy production, through lower density and increased height of the panels or limiting their inclination.”

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Clémentine Jardon, an agricultural engineer at Solveo Energies, will monitor the growth and productivity of apricot trees under the supervision of the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRAE) and the Center for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). The data collected in Rivesaltes will also be transmitted to the National Agrivoltaic Research Center.

“A few years ago, a heatwave caused us to lose part of the orchard,” said Pierre Pratx, another farmer who also has the Cultiveo Dynamique system on his crops. “With these panels, we can now protect the apricots from such extreme temperatures. We will be able to control the rotation of the panels according to needs by opening them further for more sun or closing them for more shade. We have similar trees nearby to make a comparison.”

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