Agrivoltaics is an increasingly popular solution among farmers for adapting to climate change, and now the sector is organising itself to support this development. Sun’Agri, REM Tec, Kilowattsol, Altergie Développement and Râcines have announced the creation of France Agrivoltaïsme, the very first association dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of the agrivoltaics industry; it brings together actors from the fields of energy, agriculture and agri-food, academia, finance and insurance.
Agriculture is increasingly affected by global warming and extreme weather events such as the spring frost of last April and the summer heatwaves of 2019 and 2020. To sustain harvests and feed a growing population, farmers have no choice but to adapt their farming methods towards more resilient models. This is the very purpose of agrivoltaics, which places photovoltaic louvres over agricultural crops to improve their agro-climatic conditions by controlling the amount of shade or light they receive.
France is a pioneer when it comes to this advanced technology. Since 2019, the French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) has contributed to the development of this solution by selecting around 100 agrivoltaic projects through calls for tender. In parallel, ADEME has carried out work to define agrivoltaics, Plateforme Verte has established a working group on good practices in agrivoltaics and the “Cultivons Demain!” initiative was launched in November 2020.
France Agrivoltaïsme, the first association dedicated to promoting and defending the interests of the agrivoltaics sector
Given its rapid growth, it was necessary for the agrivoltaics sector to organise itself. This is the aim of the France Agrivoltaïsme association, launched by two pioneers and global market leaders in agrivoltaics, REM Tec and Sun’Agri, alongside the solar power engineering firm Kilowattsol, the energy developer and producer Altergie Développement, and Râcines, a financing platform dedicated to agrivoltaic projects.
The association seeks to promote agrivoltaics solutions with a high agricultural impact, to represent the sector vis-à-vis the various stakeholders (public authorities, professional organisations, etc.), to analyse and defend the rights and interests of its members, and to develop information and training on agrivoltaics. France Agrivoltaïsme is made up of five sections (agriculture and agri-food; energy; research and education; finance and insurance; and agrivoltaics technology solutions) and has already set up three committees charged with shaping and raising the standards of this emerging industry: certification/labelling, regulation, and international affairs.
“Like any emerging industry, the agrivoltaics sector needs to be properly structured to allow for sustainable development and to encourage practices that promote agricultural improvements and resilience. Our first objective is to make the public authorities aware of the need to maintain strong support mechanisms for agrivoltaics, particularly in the context of the CRE’s calls for tenders and agricultural subsidies, especially those under the Recovery Plan for the adaptation of agriculture to climate change”, says Antoine Nogier, President of France Agrivoltaïsme.