Antonio Cerillo, winner the European Solar Prize 2017.

SOLAR PARKS COMPATIBLE WITH AGRICULTURAL CROPS ARE COMING

A planned investment of 20 million euros promotes the creation of three large photovoltaic installations that would also accommodate crops and the participation of the agricultural world.

Some have pointed out that certain agricultural areas are incompatible with solar photovoltaic plants. It is precisely this image that a business initiative promoted with the aim of defending the simultaneous use of agricultural land and the production of solar electricity is seeking to banish. Other proposals also seek to better integrate these facilities into the natural environment.

On this new occasion, a solar development company (Green Concept Management) is promoting the construction of three photovoltaic parks that seek to combine these two activities in a complementary manner.

Two of them are located in Juià (Gironès) and a third in Folgueroles (Osona). The total planned investment is around 20 million euros and the expected electricity production would be equivalent to the energy consumption of around 12,000 homes.

The projects of these three photovoltaic plants are a clear example of the good reception given by the business world to the new Catalan legislation on renewable energies (November 2019) aimed at paving the way for these clean energies.

Drastic cost reduction
Projects are already profitable without the premiums included in the electricity bill.

Developers can now promote these projects without the need for official aid or subsidies. The lower generation costs mean that profitability can be guaranteed simply through the remuneration obtained from the sale of the energy produced to the grid.

Planta fotovoltaica

But the most unique element of this proposal is its willingness to integrate agricultural crops. “I am the son of a wine grower and I believe that clean energy can be a great ally of agriculture. In the strip of land between solar panels, certain crops such as lettuce, artichokes or onions can be grown. We have even envisaged that they can also be used for activities such as keeping chickens, sheep or bees,” says Guy de Maillé, head of Green Concept.

The developer wants to use land that has been subject to a certain degree of landscape degradation (areas close to power lines, motorways, industrial sites) for his parks.

For this reason, the first two photovoltaic installations are located near the Juià electricity substation (with a capacity of 4 and 6.8 MW respectively), while the third site is located next to the high voltage power lines in Folgueroles (in an agricultural area where there would be four photovoltaic complexes totalling between 12 and 16 MW).

The developers pay the owners of the rented land a fee of 3,000 euros per hectare per year for the use of the site. “The aim is to improve farmers’ incomes and even dispense with subsidies,” says De Maillé.

In addition, to gain trust, they offer a financial participation of 1,500 euros per MW per year to the agricultural cooperative closest to the site; all this in order to help farmers promote organic farming.

The photovoltaic industry must help to revive and revive a forgotten sector such as agriculture.
GUY DE MAILLÉ Promoter of the company Green Concept

“It is not a question of the agricultural world promoting solar photovoltaic energies, but of the photovoltaic industry helping to revive and revive a sector with an essential and forgotten activity such as agriculture,” he says in defining the philosophy of these projects.

“These renewable energy developments cannot be carried out without involving local stakeholders,” the businessman sums up.

Planned investments and guarantees of future decommissioning
Once the green light has been obtained from the Generalitat’s renewable energies committee, construction of the first park, in Juià, is expected to begin at the end of this year and to be connected to the grid next spring, while the other two parks are also scheduled to operate in stages to complete the whole process in the first quarter of 2022.

Instalación fotovoltaica en Can Gazà,en Malllorca de  Som  Energia

The promoters give full guarantees for the dismantling (dismantling, recycling of components and restoration of the land) of the installations on the day they cease to operate, either because the lease has expired or because they must be removed because they are obsolete. To this end, they undertake commitments that go beyond current regulations (which only provide for a deposit for the value of the cost of dismantling, which is difficult to quantify for long operating periods of around 30 years).

“We believe that our projects are clearly in line with the content of the technical report on the protection of land of high agrological value promoted by the Department of Agriculture to establish the criteria to be applied by the renewable energies committee when giving the green light to the projects presented”, says the promoter. Once the projects are on track, they will be in the hands of German capital (7C Solarparken).

Complete article: https://www.lavanguardia.com/natural/20200717/482294429874/parques-solares-guy-de-maille-juia-fotovoltaica.html#galeria-foto-1