TSE inaugurates its first agrivoltaic canopy equipped with an intelligent irrigation system

TSE inaugurates its first agrivoltaic canopy equipped with an intelligent irrigation system

This Thursday, September 21, Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, Mathieu Debonnet, President of TSE, and Benoît Bougler, agricultural operator, inaugurated the first TSE agrivoltaic site equipped with an intelligent irrigation system and intended to improve water management on field crops. Deployed on 3 hectares, this device with a power of 2.9 MWc — equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 1650 inhabitants — should make it possible to save water by nearly 30%.

Launched in January 2023, the construction of the TSE agricultural canopy in Brouchy was completed in June 2023. The project was financed by the European Union, through the Innovation Fund aimed at deploying innovative and low-carbon technologies.

The agricultural canopy is a shade equipped with rotating solar panels installed 5m high above agricultural land that extends over 3 hectares. Thanks to a technology” Agritech ” using the cables guaranteeing the low footprint (0.5% with 27 m between two posts), the agricultural canopy is compatible with Great culture and the use of most agricultural machinery (combines, sprayers, etc.). It thus makes it possible to produce carbon-free electricity while providing direct services to agricultural production, in line with the definition of agrivoltaics now included in the law of March 2023 relating to the acceleration of renewable energy production.

Equipped with trackers that automatically tilt the solar panels following the sun's axis from east to west, the agricultural canopy generates partial and rotating shade on the plot throughout the day, mitigating heat and water stress. To meet a major challenge in the management of water resources, TSE has developed a system intelligent irrigation, integrated into its agrivoltaic solutions, which allows farmers to manage water more rationally.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting the Brouchy agrivoltaic canopy and seeing for myself how agriculture and renewable energy production can go hand in hand. The innovative use of photovoltaic systems is an inspiring example of how they can be used for crop protection, yield stabilization, and water resource control — a win-win for the agriculture and renewable energy sectors. ”, says Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy.

Launch of the first integrated irrigation system

On the plot, the plants have particularly suffered from thermal and water stress in recent years, with high thermal amplitudes and especially long periods without water which have impacted plant growth and yields, especially in wheat and potatoes. Warming is also progressively and steadily bringing the harvest date forward. So I was looking for solutions to adapt to climate change. Irrigated agrivoltaics is one of the possible answers ”, explains Benoît Bougler, a farmer from Brouchy.

For several years, agriculture has been facing increasingly hot and dry seasons, generating major decreases in yields throughout the country. The year 2022 was also the hottest year in history and all regions of France experienced unprecedented yield decreases of up to -53.6% on non-irrigated grain maize and up to -17.1% on winter wheat (source AGRESTE). As the need for water increases, the resource is becoming increasingly scarce. Our agrivoltaic canopy allows the triptych: agricultural production, carbon-free energy production and water saving. It's a world first ”, underlines Mathieu Debonnet, president of TSE.

This intelligent device allows the farmer to optimize the irrigation of his plot and contributes to maximizing water savings of up to 30%. Indeed, thanks to a set of probes and sensors positioned on the agricultural canopy, the system makes it possible to water only when necessary and to provide the right quantity of water. No need for handling or winder, this new device also allows farmers to save labor time by facilitating irrigation management.

INRAE & Chamber of Agriculture

At the Brouchy site, agronomic trials will be conducted alongside INRAE for 9 years and on an area of 5 ha to demonstrate the relevance and effectiveness of the agricultural canopy on various cultivation practices: 3 ha covered by shade and 2 ha control.
Additional experiments will be carried out with the Somme Chamber of Agriculture on the impact of the agricultural canopy and its irrigation system on water resources:

  • On non-irrigated crops, the trial will focus on the beneficial effects of shading generated by the agricultural canopy on water stress and the reduction of evapotranspiration.
  • On irrigated crops, the trial will focus on the potential savings in irrigation thanks to the canopy and the intelligent irrigation system.

Energy from the Brouchy site sold to bioMérieux via a CPPA

The canopy is installed on an area of field crops of 3 hectares: soybeans, wheat, fodder rye, winter barley, rapeseed... and produces a power of 2.9 MWc, equivalent to the consumption of approximately 1650 inhabitants.

The energy produced on this site is sold to bioMérieux, a global player in the field of in vitro diagnostics over a period of 20 years under a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA). This operation allows bioMérieux to accelerate its energy transition by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its scopes 1 and 2 to 50% in absolute value between 2019 and 2030. It also aims to secure part of its electricity supply cost for 20 years by benefiting from the production of renewable electricity from two solar power plants, including that of Brouchy.

To download the press kit and visuals, click here !