• 32 MW di serre fotovoltaiche
  • 18 mila piante coltivate
  • 44 milioni di kWh prodotti annualmente
  • 20 mila tonnellate di riduzione di emissioni di CO2 all’anno

Agro-photovoltaics is an innovative solution widespread internationally because of the need to combine energy necessities with those of agriculture and pastoralism through installations that can create synergy with the two different activities.

Thanks to the development of photovoltaic greenhouses or innovative elevated structures to support photovoltaic panels, it is possible to use land simultaneously for agriculture and for the production of electricity from solar energy, providing in some cases also the opportunity for land recovery. EF Solare starting from the analysis of the territory has developed models that can be integrated with the different landscape and agronomic characteristics of the area in which the company operates.

The profound synergy between the two activities generates many mutual benefits giving rise to a unique and virtuous coexistence not only for the environment but also for communities and the local economy, creating systems capable of combining innovation with tradition.

10 benefits of agro-photovoltaic

  1. Allows dual land use.
  2. Contrasts the abandoned farmland.
  3. Creates new employment opportunities in communities.
  4. Protects crops from extreme weather events due to climate change, high temperatures and new pests.
  5. Helps decrease water needs by protecting crops from heat and reducing evapotranspiration.
  6. Promotes increased photosynthetic capacity and generates high quality crop yields.
  7. Stimulates investments that increase farm competitiveness through digitization and diversification of land uses, thereby also containing the risks associated with seasonality.
  8. Increases the efficiency of PV modules due to the cooler microclimate generated under the panels.
  9. It can optimize the operating costs of the PV system.
  10. It represents a tool for sharing value among different stakeholders.

 

EF Solare’s photovoltaic greenhouses

EF Solare began its experience in agro-photovoltaics more than 10 years ago with the creation of photovoltaic greenhouses on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coast of the province of Cosenza, Calabria. For the correct and efficient implementation of these projects and therefore to ensure all the necessary agricultural expertise, EF Solare decided to establish a partnership with Le Greenhouse, a family-owned farming company that combines two generations of entrepreneurs able to combine love for the land and innovation. 

Thanks to this collaboration and the excellent results and benefits obtained from the first installations, EF Solare has worked to expand the model of photovoltaic greenhouses to Umbria and Sardinia.

Currently, EF Solare’s photovoltaic greenhouses in the country have reached 32 megawatts and produce more than 44 million kWh of electricity each year, equal to the average annual consumption of more than 16 thousand Italian families, with a reduction of more than 20 thousand tons of CO2 emissions.

In order to ensure a good coexistence of the two activities, EF Solare is committed to maintaining a constant dialogue with the territory at all steps, always taking care of the peculiarities of the area (natural, geomorphological, productive, human) by collaborating with local subjects, agricultural enterprises and institutions. 

Indeed, in the over 40 hectares of EF Solare dedicated to agro-photovoltaics, there are innovative greenhouses where lemons, citrons, oranges and Goji berries are grown, depending on the specific cultivars of the territory, through a type of agriculture that combines traditional methods with innovative solutions, supported by the technologies present in the greenhouses. 

In EF Solare’s photovoltaic greenhouses there are 18 thousand plants that, in addition to being cared by farmers, are supervised through sensors that allow to supervise their vegetative conditions continuously. Indeed, the structure of the photovoltaic greenhouses enables the use of special technologies that guarantee the execution of important activities even remotely, such as the monitoring of crops and panels and even irrigation. 

This solution encourages not only the digitization of the farm but also a more rational use of resources and especially of water . At Scalea’s photovoltaic greenhouses, in fact, up to 70% less water is used compared to open-field cultivation and, thanks to the protection offered by the structure where the panels are placed, there is also zero waste in agricultural production, which maintains an excellent appearance. In addition, thanks to the cooler microclimate created below the panels, lemons grown in Calabria, in EF Solare’s photovoltaic greenhouses, have the same quality characteristics as IGP lemons grown in the open field.

EF Solare works on several innovative and integrated projects that can protect biodiversity while producing clean electricity and agricultural crops. Starting with this, in EF Solare’s photovoltaic greenhouses there are smart beehives equipped with special technologies powered by small photovoltaic panels that monitor the activity of bees and consequently their well-being, inside and outside the greenhouses. 

The new agro-photovoltaic model.

The technological evolution and commitment of EF Solare, has stimulated the realization of a new agro-photovoltaic model with zero land consumption, presented in Scalea. The system, which is suitable for all types of solar panels, consists of structures fixed to the ground, without the use of concrete, elevated from the ground at a height of about 3 meters and equipped with sun-tracking systems, with appropriately distanced rows.

Starting from the study of the characteristics of the territory and the definition of a land improvement plan, the new configuration developed by EF Solare allows the complete reversibility of the installation and a total cultivation of the areas involved ensuring, in the same area, the simultaneous and continuous presence of agricultural activities and management of the photovoltaic plant. 

The new agro-photovoltaic system includes a sophisticated monitoring system, which can also be managed remotely, that measures various factors such as air and soil humidity and temperature and also plant growth. In addition, this configuration also provides the right amount of direct and diffuse light from which the crops benefit. 

Therefore, thanks to the work and cooperation of all the people involved, it has been possible to create an innovative agro-photovoltaic model able to also meet the needs of open-field crops and which, together with the photovoltaic greenhouse model, contributes to the maintenance of agricultural tradition and activity, making them both innovative and sustainable.