Through its PERSEO international start-up programme, Spanish energy company Iberdrola has selected four international projects to promote the coexistence of solar photovoltaic plants with activities related to agriculture and livestock farming.
The PERSEO contest was launched in May this year and aimed to identify solutions that could create synergies on farm land that is also suitable for solar photovoltaic installations.
In response to this challenge, Iberdrola received 110 proposals from 32 countries, selected four winning companies, and will design projects in various locations:
- Irrigated crops: The Spanish company EcoEnergías del Guadiana has presented a pilot project to combine tomato cultivation under fixed or retractable structures that support solar panels, making it possible to mitigate plant stress during heat waves, save water and improve harvest yields.
- Viticulture: The Winesolar project is a collaboration between three Spanish companies: Techedge (advance technological solutions), PVH (PV tracker and structure manufacturer) and Gonzalez Byass (Wine and Spirits with 14 wineries in Spain, Chile, Mexico and 3 distillery).
- The challenge of mitigating and adapting to the climate change effects in viticulture is a major undertaking, according to Iberdrola. The Winesolar solution will develop a photovoltaic system with an intelligent tracker adapted to generate shadow and protect vineyards. Additionally, an artificial intelligent algorithm will control those trackers to adapt them to the physiological needs of the vineyards, and in parallel optimize PV production. Data gathered by the sensors, rolled out in the vineyards to measure humidity, temperature, etc will also feed the algorithm. In short, Winesolar aims to help make vineyards more resilient to climate change and to be neutral or negative in terms of CO2 impact.
- For Fruit trees: French startup Ombrea has developed a climate control and regulation system powered by artificial intelligence to protect crops against climate change. The remote solution, based on solar panels, spreads out and retracts in order to modulates light and shadow according to data collected on-site via sensors. The aim is to protect plants from extreme heat, drought, hail and frost.
- Bovine care: French company itk is developing science-based solutions to support the agricultural and agrifood sectors in adapting to climate change and decarbonizing agriculture while ensuring the performance and resilience of farms. Its FarmLife cow behavior monitoring and analysis platform aims to enhance time management and improve performance by providing decision-making data on 4 pillars of productivity: reproduction, nutrition, comfort and health.
Iberdrola will provide the winning companies with technical and financial support to test their solutions, giving them access to the resources needed to develop them in a real-world environment.
If a pilot project is successful, Iberdrola may also offer the participant the opportunity to scale-up the solution with commercial agreements or direct investment in the company through PERSEO.
Iberdrola plans to achieve zero net biodiversity loss by 2030, by committing to a net positive impact for its new infrastructure developments.
Iberdrola has carried out more than 1,450 actions to protect biodiversity over the last three years, the most recent project being installing beehives in photovoltaic projects to preserve biodiversity and promote the circular economy.