26 photovoltaic projects in French vineyards for Sun'Agri

Thursday April 15 2021 by Vitisphere

 The first results collected during the 2019 season on the Piolenc site showed that vines shaded by the equipment withstood soaring summer temperatures better than the others. The first results collected during the 2019 season on the Piolenc site showed that vines shaded by the equipment withstood soaring summer temperatures better than the others. - Photo credit : Sun'Agri

Winegrowers in the South of France are pioneering the development of agrivoltaics: among the 37 Sun'Agri projects selected in the “innovative photovoltaic solar energy” calls for tender issued by the French Energy Regulation Commission, 26 involve the wine industry. “This is the area of farming where our projects are the most advanced”, confirmed Perrine Fortin, head of the Agro Division at Sun'Agri. All the projects, which will be rolled out in 2022, are located across the Mediterranean wine regions in areas such as Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude, Gard, Hérault and Vaucluse.

Sun'Agri has already installed a demonstrator on 4.5 hectares of vines in Tresserre, Pyrénées-Orientales, and has been conducting trials for several years on vineyard blocks in Piolenc, Vaucluse, and at Inra Pech Rouge in Aude. The company is developing photovoltaic panels placed 4 metres above the ground which shade the vines from excessive sunlight. Controlled by algorithms geared to the needs of vines, the panels are tilted depending on the plant's sunlight or shade requirements.

Sun'Agri is ramping up its commitment through the 26 projects planned from 2022. “The installations cover small areas (1 to 5 ha) and are introduced during replanting. The main concern of the winegrowers who contact us is to find solutions to global warming. We provide them with technical and administrative support. We are also able to provide them with investors if they do not wish to make the investment themselves, which amounts to €800,000/ha”, explained Antoine Nogier, president and founder of Sun'Agri.

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