The difference between Agrovoltaic and Agrisolar. Let's make things clear!
The development of photovoltaic systems in the agricultural sector, with the aim of reducing the energy costs of productive agricultural companies, is encouraged by the measures provided for by the PNRR (italian acronym for National Recovery and Resilience Plan). The national recovery and resilience plan (PNRR) devotes a large part to the union between agriculture and renewable energy with the "Agrovoltaic Decree" and the "Agricultural Park Call". These two measures are frequently mistaken. Although they have in common the goal of energy efficiency in the agricultural sector, they have substantial differences, first of all: land use. In particular, the "Agrovoltaic Decree" concerns the installation of photovoltaic panels on the ground, but safeguarding agricultural activities, so that they can coexist in the same territory.
Let us clarify in detail the differences in destination and use.
MASE (italian acronym for "Minister of the Environment and Energy Security") defines Agrovoltaics as: "A photovoltaic plant that adopts solutions aimed at preserving the continuity of agricultural and pastoral cultivation activities on the installation site".
Actually, it is a system that provides for the coexistence of agricultural activity and energy activity on the same territory, reserving a specific percentage of the area to agriculture, which is about 70% of the total area. The remaining part will be occupied by photovoltaic panels, mounted in such a way as to be able to support the agricultural function.
The development of Agrovoltaics is supported by the PNRR within the "Green Revolution and Ecological Transition Mission, renewable energy, hydrogen, network and sustainable mobility component", whose aim is to make the agricultural sector more competitive by reducing energy supply costs and improving climate-environmental performance. The investment measure, in particular, provides for:
- the implementation of hybrid agriculture-energy production systems that do not compromise the use of land dedicated to agriculture, but contribute to the environmental and economic sustainability of the companies involved;
- the monitoring of the achievements and their effectiveness, with the collection of data on photovoltaic systems, production and underlying agricultural activity.
The goal of the investment is to install a production capacity of 1.04 GW from agro-voltaic plants, which would produce about 1,300 GWh per year, with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions estimated at about 0.8 million tons of CO2.
- agricultural entrepreneurs, individually or as a company, including cooperatives, agricultural companies, as well as consortia formed between two or more agricultural entrepreneurs or agricultural companies;
- temporary business associations, which include at least one person described in the previous point.
AGRISOLAR PARK CALL:
The Agrisolar Park measure (mentioned in the PNRR Mission 2, component 1, investment 2.2) aims to install photovoltaic systems on buildings for productive use in the agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sectors in order to encourage the energy transition of productive farms, excluding the use of the land. The interventions included in the measure are:
- purchase and installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings with a peak power of at least 6 kWp and not over 1000 kWp;
- removal of asbestos;
- thermal insulation of the roofs;
- construction of a ventilation system.
As for the recipients, the call is addressed to:
- individual or corporate agricultural entrepreneurs;
- agro-industrial companies;
- agricultural cooperatives that conduct activities referred to in Article 2135 of the Civil Code and cooperatives or their consortia referred to in Article 1, paragraph 2, of Legislative Decree no. 228 of 18 May 2001.
Basically, the first obvious difference between Agrovoltaic and Agrisolar is that the first involves the installation of solar panels on the ground and the second on the roof.
Just to clarify, it must be specified that the Agrovoltaic plant, while occupying land, allows the continuation of agricultural activity. In fact, not only it is guaranteed by law that 70% of land is necessarily destined for agricultural activities, but those activities can also be conducted under the solar panels. There are cultivations that are even facilitated and improved by the shade of the panels that allow a greater yield of the soils, protecting them from heat.
The Agrisolar Park, on the other hand, is aimed at those who not only conduct cultivation activities, but also, and above all, processing of agricultural products and activities related to agriculture.
To give some examples: breeding, meat processing, food processing, dairy, etc.
In this case, the installation of solar panels, exclusively on the roof, allows the reduction of energy costs aimed at entrepreneurial activities while allowing eco-sustainable development.