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Agrivoltaic : agriculture 2.0

Agrovoltaic, what is it?

The last historical period marks a point in favor towards renewable energies and all their variants. On the one hand the need given by historical events, on the other the desire to accentuate attention towards the environment has allowed various companies, organizations and people to take an interest in agrovoltaics or agrisolar.

If the term is difficult, its concept is much more down to earth, that's what it's all about, but that's not all. Agrovoltaics represents the union between the world of agriculture and photovoltaic panels, so as to make the meat production process sustainable and avoid the waste of resources. The climate crises, the absence of energy or rather oil and gas require a change of direction, which is why agrivoltaics and sustainability in the world of livestock farming are enjoying so much success.

Sustainability in Europe: ideas, solutions and help

The PNRR of some time ago, the one intended for the post-covid growth phase, allocated 1.1 billion euros for the development of agrivoltaics. Perhaps as a preventative measure or perhaps who knows, the fact is that shortly thereafter, the war that was too close forced us - by which we mean the European Union - to accelerate in the direction and draw up a development plan aimed at sustainability. The first objective is to implement hybrid systems without modifying or damaging agricultural land but choosing to enhance sustainable water systems.

The second objective aims to monitor the implementation and monitoring of major works so as to create a historical archive dedicated to the continuous and constant improvement of the system. If large industry can make use of important works, the small farmer and breeder chooses to set up a photovoltaic system on the farm aimed at creating sustainable meat, so as to fully fit into the system and follow the path of sustainability.

Sustainability and agriculture: from here to there

Until yesterday, energy production through photovoltaics and agriculture moved on two parallel paths without a meeting point. Agrivoltaics chooses to create a communication bridge capable of uniting the two currents and offering a new term and margin for development.

In regulatory terms, it is article 11 with access to incentives that defines the characteristics: "... adopt innovative integrated solutions with assembly of the modules elevated from the ground, also providing for the rotation of the modules themselves, in any case in such a way as not to compromise the continuity of agricultural and pastoral cultivation activities, also allowing the application of digital and precision agriculture tools". The definition is rather condescending and allows different interpretations capable of adapting to different situations. In short, it seems to be feasible.

Agrivoltaic in Italy

Until recently it was quite normal to come across uncultivated fields covered in photovoltaic panels where no plantations, animals or resources were allowed. The new vision, however, chooses to combine the two elements and, thanks to the various associations born in the last period, help the creation of the project.

We need an action plan to avoid the wild and incoherent installation of panels and, at the same time, offer a useful service to the community and not just to the individual business. Inclusion once again becomes the turning point of the process which, in addition to uniting two apparently completely disconnected elements, chooses to educate the population towards a more conscious use of energy.

3 rules of the provision

Simplifying, when it comes to legislative regulations, is rather complex, however the legislation of the Energy Decree aimed at agrivoltaics chooses to focus on combining 3 elements:

  • Activate self-consumption while keeping agricultural activity prevalent
  • Regulate incentives by creating useful variables to diversify and resolve the proportions of land to be used for different uses.
  • Implement the PNRR proposals in terms of energy communities and innovative plants defined off-shore.

What is missing is only the guideline which, as per self-respecting Italian tradition, will arrive calmly, but that is another story.

Sustainability. Lazio in command

The University of Tuscia has started a completely admirable project focused on agri photovoltaics, drafting a document of over 50 pages which summarizes social, economic and political aspects as well as some case studies. In short, it represents the first brick on which to build a new line of energy recovery. The point in favor of the study is represented by a perspective of savings or rather of reintegration of the profit which allows to increase the profitability of the agricultural company thanks to the multifunctional system of self-production of energy.

Environmental sensitivity has always been a point of reference for many small farms and traditional livestock farms that choose to combine attention to the environment and animal welfare rather than focusing entirely on the production chain. On the one hand they can obtain quality sustainable meat combined with a newfound civic sense and respect for the territory.

Italian meat and photovoltaic agriculture: where are we now?

It's difficult to answer such a broad question. Attention to the environment, thanks to the particular historical period characterized by war phases, suggests a strong surge towards photovoltaics moving from the agricultural world. At the same time, the government's aid plans are struggling to get going due to the enormous bureaucracy that follows the transition and hinders some phases.

The trade associations choose to plead the cause and continue in the direction of energy and technological renewal so as to be ready when the obligation is triggered and the hypothesis becomes a necessity. Generally speaking, there is a strong interest and appeal towards everything that responds to the concept of sustainable, choosing to embrace the cause by raising respect towards one's own plot and one's destination supply chain.