Retrofitting solar parks for agrivoltaics

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From pv magazine International

Enel Green Power, the renewable energy unit of multinational energy group Enel, has launched a series of agrivoltaic pilot projects at nine demonstration sites in Europe, including two in Greece, five in Spain, and two in Italy.

“Our initial approach to agrivoltaics is based on the idea of utilizing existing and operational solar parks,” Giovanni Tula, Enel Green Power’s head of sustainability, told pv magazine. “We are trying to understand if different kinds of agricultural activities can be integrated in an efficient way into plants that have been active in the power generation business for several years.”

Its approach is designed to utilize agricultural surfaces that have already been used for the construction of large-scale solar plants, so there is no need to occupy new plots of land.

According to Tula, there is plenty of room for crops between the trackers and the panels. “A conventional solar park does not change the nature of the ground and agriculture is still possible,” he said. “Our goal is to explore the agrivoltaic option in large-scale PV parks or sites in which the energy business remains the most important one.”

This business model, according to Tula, would be completely different from more “conventional” agrivoltaic projects, where the agricultural business dominates and the panels are usually mounted on special structures at a certain height to enable the use of farm equipment beneath them.

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