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Agriculture & Renewable Energy: Acting Together against Climate Change

Agri-PV: driving the agricultural and energy transition of land by combining food production and sustainable energy production in the same area

To overview

Agri-PV: a solution for adapting to climate change

Agri-voltaics or Agri-PV is a method of combining primary agricultural production with secondary energy production. It is a unique way of creating beneficial synergies between agricultural activity and solar energy in the same area.

At BayWa r.e., we are committed to preserving natural resources and ensuring that the quality of the soil for food production is not degraded in any way. This is evident in all our activities and across many sectors. 

To achieve these goals, we are helping to make French agriculture more sustainable thus adopting a combined strategy when it comes to adapting to the effects of climate change and reducing the impact of human activity on the environment. 

We therefore favour developing our solar farms on degraded land or land unsuitable for agricultural use. We are also putting in place innovative solutions to maintain agricultural activity. Through Agri-PV, we are promoting the transition to environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture, as well as the increased and more widespread use of renewable energy.

Our Agri-PV projects in France

In France, we are already running several pilot projects in conjunction with farmers and chambers of agriculture to deliver Agri-PV projects. Partnerships with universities are also being established through research centres. 

In addition to the various Agri-PV projects being pursued in France, we have also completed eight ground-based photovoltaic installations, which are used as pasture for sheep. Not only do they benefit from quality fodder, but the panels also afford them protection against bad weather and high summer temperatures. We are currently investigating the possibilities for cattle farming. As such, our solar farms help to maintain a significant amount of agricultural activity, and sometimes even revive it when the farms are installed on land that was no longer used for agricultural purposes. This is the case for the Blueberry solar farm, built on a former military base and commissioned in 2021. 

Quote

By reconciling agriculture and energy production, Agri-PV projects enable us to respond to current major challenges by including farmers as stakeholders in the energy and agricultural transition.” Laurent Barrau, regional solar development manager – Agri-PV adviser

Laurent Barrau, regional solar development manager – Agri-PV adviser

Our expertise

Do you want to combine the production of food and energy? We have the skills you need. Thanks to our network of specialists, you will benefit from our in-depth knowledge and support in all areas: 

  • Land needs analysis
  • Feasibility study
  • Agricultural diagnosis of the land
  • Agronomic, technical and economic feasibility
  • Agri-PV project planning
  • Administrative permits
  • Turnkey construction
  • Financing
  • Operation and maintenance, etc

Our team will offer you the most suitable solution for your crop: contact us now.

Agronomic advantages of the Agri-PV system 

BayWa r.e. has designed a system that adapts to crops, with different structure types. The use of bi-glass, semi-transparent solar panels ensures sufficient light under the panels and good conditions for plant growth. Installed above the rows of crops, our panels protect plants from climatic variations while ensuring an optimal supply of light.

Although these special panels have a lower energy yield than ordinary solar panels, they still provide ideal light output while offering maximum protection for the crops against weather, excess sun and heat. Our elevated solar modules allow for easy and safe integration of your irrigation systems, as well as improved temperature and ventilation between each row.

A well-designed substructure allows us to easily and safely integrate your wiring and irrigation system into the installation.   

The Agri-PV system offers several advantages for your farmland:

Crops are protected against climatic variations

The solar panels in our Agri-PV systems perfectly protect your crops against the weather. What’s more, given the transparency of the panels, your plants grow optimally.

A long-term solution that saves time and money

Agri-PV replace short-lived materials yet offer the same benefits as conventional protection systems but with a longer lifespan. It also allows farmers to significantly reduce costs associated with hail insurance.

Better ventilation reduces the risk of disease 

Semi-enclosed Agri-PV systems provide good crop ventilation, thereby reducing the risk of disease. 

Water savings

The agri-voltaic system allows you to provide your crops with just the right amount of water. In addition, the shade afforded by the panels prevents water from evaporating from the soil and reduces plant perspiration.

Easier harvesting

The shade and ventilation provided by the solar panels help to lower the temperature below the agri-voltaic systems, thereby optimising fruit crop management and facilitating harvests.

Do you have suitable land?

Plots established for the production of perennial and specialised crops such as stone fruits, drupes or berries, where the cultivation system could be replaced by innovative Agri-PV solutions.

You will benefit from lower capital, maintenance and operating costs, while also reducing the amount of unsustainable materials you use to protect your crops. You will also have the opportunity to become a co-investor and thus a co-owner of the Agri-PV system, allowing you to diversify your income and stabilise it by selling green electricity.   

Our top priority

Each Agri-PV project aims to improve agricultural added-value. From start to finish, you are at the heart of the project.

Do you want to make the most of your Agri-PV system and use the energy produced yourself? We look forward to discussing your project in detail, no matter the type of partnership you are considering.

Simply get in touch to find out more. We would be delighted to support you with your project!

Sheep grazing under solar panels to combine livestock activity and renewable energy production

Are you looking for land for your livestock? Or are you considering becoming a sheep farmer in future? We can offer you optimal solutions to grow your project

At BayWa r.e., we are convinced that new synergies can enable the agricultural world to reconcile the need to adapt to climate change with the challenges posed by the 21st century.   

Sheep farming under solar panels is a winning combination: your sheep can graze on rich, green grass for longer and maintain the site in an environmentally friendly way, thereby reducing the environmental impact. 

To help get your project off the ground, BayWa r.e. is committed to supporting your project of breeding sheep under panels so it is technically feasible with the solar farm. Training courses for volunteer farmers are also available to support you when starting or strengthening your livestock business. We can also adapt our technical choices to your production and build the project together, taking into account your needs: designing the solar farm and access to it, creating water points, fencing, etc.photv

The benefits of grazing sheep under panels

  • Access to land free of charge.
  • Possibility to increase your livestock or start a breeding project. 
  • The panels provide shade and cool for the sheep, and also for the pastures during dry spells.  
  • The fodder that grows under panels is of good quantity and quality, thus increasing how much fodder can be generated on your farm.

Sheep grazing with BayWa r.e. represents: 

Over a thousand grazing ewes spread over 8 photovoltaic farms in France. And also 6 long-term contracts with partner breeders.
Since 2019, BayWa r.e. has been supporting and actively participating in the Medoc transhumance near Hourtin in Gironde. This provides an opportunity to combine a visit to the Lacs Médocains solar farm with moving the ewes to their sheepfold. 

Quote

For the past three years, my partnership with BayWa r.e. has enabled me to boost my breeding activity: quality fodder is available with abundant grass until September and a shelter to protect the animals during bad weather – what more could I ask for?

Cédric Pérez, sheep breeder on the Lacs Médocains solar farm in Gironde (33)
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