Vertical agrivoltaic pilots in France find improved yields and less water stress


From pv magazine France

TotalEnergies has unveiled the results of the first harvest from three agrivoltaic demonstrators in the French municipalities of Channay (Côte-d’Or), Rivals (Aude), and Valpuiseaux (Essonne).

It said it aims to study the impact of solar panels on crops in order to be able to develop a repository of the agronomic benefits of agrivoltaic projects. For this purpose, it chose different configurations of PV systems and crops.

The agrivoltaic plant in Le Channay, for example, is made up of vertical bifacial photovoltaic panels with 237 kW of power. There are 12 meters of spacing between the modules, as well as several types of crops, including wheat and aromatic herbs.

TotalEnergies said it is analysing the contribution of photovoltaics on a plot of land with declining yield. It noted that the Le Channay location is subject to climatic challenges such as wind, frost and drought.

During the summer 2022 harvest, TotalEnergies, agronomy consultancy Agrosolutions, Dijon Céréales, and Next2Sun were able to record an increase in yield of 1 quintal per hectare for wheat compared to previous harvests and 2 quintals for lentils. They found that wheat protein levels increased by 2%. One explanation could be the protection against high winds, as the panels reduce average wind speeds by 14 km/hour.

TotalEnergies also developed the Valpuiseaux site with Agrosolutions, Agrinovex and Next2Sun. It features vertical bifacial modules. In addition, it developed the Rivals demonstrator with Sudexpe, IFV, InVivo and Ombrea, with 87 kW deployed above pomegranate trees and vines.

The group of companies said the results will now need to be confirmed over time. TotalEnergies currently has more than 140 agrivoltaic projects in various stages of development.

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