In Haute-Saône, agrivoltaism, or solar energy in the countryside


Harvesting soybeans under solar panels suspended on an agrivoltaic site, in Amance (Haute-Saône), October 12, 2022.

The sun is already at its highest on this late spring morning, near Vesoul, and yet the still green wheat field is partly in the shade. Above him, a canopy of solar panels suspended by pillars lets in rays of light.

“It’s a world first. The patent relates to the fact that the structure is lightened”, enthuses Mikaël Carlot, Center regional director of the TSE group, as a slight rustle is heard. “The panels follow the path of the sun using sensors. The motorization is itself powered by a mini solar panel, which means that in the event of a power failure the equipment continues to provide shade to the plot. »

It is in this countryside near the village of Amance (Haute-Saône) that this solar actor launched, at the end of 2022, this first experimental project of agrivoltaism, a technique which combines agricultural exploitation or breeding with electricity production. Before deploying 21 over the next two to three years on different crops. “In times of energy crisis, this is far from being a far-fetched innovation”believes Sylvain Raison, the owner of the premises who lent himself to the experience.

Discreet sensors

This consists of renting these 3 hectares to TSE to produce electricity, injected into the network, while studying, for nine years, the impacts of the installation on its crops. What seduced the farmer? “The flexibility of this system. The height, the width. The gap between the posts (27 meters wide and 8 high) which (him) allows easy movement with (her) material “, he explains.

Like TSE, more and more photovoltaic groups are canvassing farmers and breeders to offer them this type of service. While some opt for high technology such as TSE, Sun’Agri or Ombrea, others opt for greater simplicity. Like Photosol, which favors low-height ground installations in sheep grazing areas. However, they all carry out research, in particular with the National Institute for Agronomic Research, in order to measure the impact of their facilities on living organisms.

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Thus, on the Amance site, discreet sensors emerge in the middle of the plantations. They were placed there to measure luminosity, air temperature, wind speed, rainfall, soil humidity, all data that the group collects and crosses with those of the Intergovernmental Panel on the evolution of the climate with a view to establishing models. The objective is to optimize energy and agricultural yields by better tilting the solar panels.

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