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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

Agrivoltaic Canopy: crops and solar panels sharing sunlight

In the corn fields of Brouchy, a small village near the Somme in the North of France, a new remarkable canopy can be spotted in the agricultural landscape.

A farmer is inspecting his crops which are partially shielded by a large and mobile solar panel infrastructure
Agrivoltaic canopy, an Innovation Fund project story

The canopy is a shade house suitable for large field crops, standing five meters high and equipped with rotating solar panels fixed on cables, secured in place by poles spanning a width of 27 meters. With its partial and rotating shading capability, the agrivoltaic system has a dual use: it can shield crops from hot temperatures and reduce plants’ stress while generating solar power. The canopy will also include an innovative irrigation system that will help reduce water consumption by 30%.

The Agrivoltaic Canopy project, with its low-carbon innovative technology, received €2.7 million in funding from the Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest investment programmes for net-zero and innovative technologies and financed by revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System. The project aims to create a new versatile solution, offering synergy between agriculture and renewable energy production and to set the stage for expansion in the growing agrivoltaics market. It will serve as a robust catalyst to generate decarbonised energy locally while protecting large field crops.

The project anticipates avoiding 6,982 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions during the first ten years of operation, which is the same as more than 32 million kilometres traveled by car. The agrivoltaic system will also bring direct economic advantages for farmers through supplementary revenues and for communities through taxation. Placing biodiversity at the core of the project, it will also ensure landscape integration in harmony with the environment and local species with multi-layered hedges.

The Brouchy canopy is the second agrivoltaic demonstrator completed within a span of less than a year by TSE, the French photovoltaic developer and energy producer. It benefits from an enhanced design compared to the initial pilot located in Amance, France. Encompassing an area of three hectares, the project has a total capacity of 2.9MWc and has been generating electricity since August 2023. TSE also successfully signed a long-term power purchase agreement for the project with bioMérieux, a global player in the in vitro diagnostics field.

The agrivoltaic canopy is designed to address two critical needs in the agricultural and energy sectors: on the one hand by creating resilient solutions to adapt to climate change and on the other hand by developing new solar renewable energy production capacities. TSE's strategic deployment initiative spans the entirety of France, through a series of pilot projects, to quantify the positive agricultural impacts of the canopy and optimise its design enabling the development of large-scale projects in the future. The success of the Brouchy canopy paves the path toward an expansive deployment programme able to contribute to the green transition and the consequential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.