Today, during the SolarPower Summit, SolarPower Europe launched a briefing paper, ‘Agri-PV: how solar enables the clean energy transition in rural areas‘, focusing on boosting the development of agricultural photovoltaics (“Agri-PV”) in rural areas in Europe. Agri-PV refers to the smart combination of agricultural infrastructure with a solar PV installation, and its potential in the EU is immense. If Agri-PV were deployed on only 1% of Europe’s arable land, its technical capacity would be over 700 GW, generating more than 25% of the EU’s current electricity consumption.
Alain Desvigne, CEO of Amarenco Group and Chair of SolarPower Europe’s Agri-PV workstream, said: “Agri-PV is not only a solution towards building more resilient economies and mitigating the global impact of climate change, it is one of the most versatile technologies as it integrates the production of low carbon and local energy together with the farming of local crops, the conservation of biodiversity, and the protection of agriculture against major climatic events, achieving multiple key benefits on the very same land.”
Desvigne added: “Installed directly above crops, Agri-PV provides shade, protects crops against hail or frost, enables stable crop yields, and increases the electrical yield of solar PV panels. Agri-PV can be installed on agricultural hangars or on greenhouses, and can support the development of modern infrastructure that improves the competitiveness of the agricultural sector. Agri-PV is simply a win-win for farmers, crops and the environment.”
SolarPower Europe’s briefing paper outlines the synergies that exist between the key objectives of the European Union’s policy frameworks for the agri-food sector and Agri-PV installations, putting forward key actions to unleash the growth of the Agri-PV sector across Europe.
Miguel Herrero, Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe and Coordinator of the Agri-PV Workstream, commented: “Agri-PV can help achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal. Boosting Agri-PV will not only contribute to the achievement of higher decarbonisation and renewable energy targets, it can crucially also contribute to green the EU’s agri-food sector. To capitalise on these synergies, the EU should put forward a coherent European Agri-PV strategy as part of the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Furthermore, as part of their CAP Strategic Plans, EU Member States should design Agri-PV regulatory frameworks and prioritise investment into solar. Taking action now will enable further advances in this innovative technology and accelerate its uptake across Europe.”
Herrero added: “Further, it is important to mainstream Agri-PV within the implementation of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy and incentivise the use of Agri-PV in the European Commission’s EU Islands’ decarbonisation strategies. Agri-PV solutions are an important tool in the fight against climate change, and the technology should be explored in climate change adaptation strategies across EU Member States.”
Negotiations on the future CAP will begin as soon as the European Council and the European Parliament reach an agreement on the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework. At the same time, EU Member States are currently drafting their CAP Strategic Plans that will outline how they plan to ensure the agricultural sector contributes to the objectives of the European Green Deal. In May, the European Commission recommended that Member States prioritise investments into solar as part of their CAP Strategic Plans.
Read the briefing, ‘Agri-PV: how solar enables the clean energy transition in rural areas’, here.
Photo: © Sun’Agri