Following its recent acquisition of Ombrea, a leading pioneer of agrivoltaics in France, TotalEnergies has begun promoting the benefits of the technology.
One of the criticisms of solar power generation is that solar farms often occupy arable land that could otherwise have been used for food production.
Agrivoltaics gets round this by installing photovoltaic panels in way that still allows agricultural activity to continue, meaning that farmers are able to benefit from an additional income stream through power generation, without having to compromise on food production.
While some may believe that crops would suffer from having limited access to sunlight, it can actually help certain types of crops to thrive, as explained by TotalEnergies:
“The solar panels create a microclimate (shade, wind, temperature, humidity, etc.) that can be beneficial to crops, which can grow while sheltered from the elements. Several types of crops can benefit from this innovative process and its wealth of advantages.”
Since its establishment in 2016, Ombrea has experimented with some 50 varieties of crops at its 10 sites. With the acquisition now finalised, TotalEnergies, which also makes the Total coolant and grease products, has welcomed the company’s founders along with more than 40 experts in agrivoltaics.
The company now plans to use its influence to promote the development of the technology, both in its home country France, and the wider world, starting with 1.5 GW of agrivoltaic projects.
Overall, TotalEnergies aims to have 35 GW renewable energy production and storage capacity by 2025, and 100 GW by the end of this decade.