Amance agrivoltaic demonstrator: TSE and the BFC Alliance announce very encouraging results

Amance agrivoltaic demonstrator: TSE and the BFC Alliance announce very encouraging results

TSE, the leading independent solar energy player in France, and the BFC Alliance, a union of agricultural cooperatives, announce very encouraging results from the first soybean harvest under the Amance agrivoltaic demonstrator.

Developed by TSE, the agricultural canopy is a shade equipped with rotating solar panels installed 5m high above the agricultural land. The construction of the first agrivoltaic demonstrator in Amance in Haute-Saône was completed in June 2022. Amance's agricultural canopy produces 3.2 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption of 1350 inhabitants.

At the beginning of June 2022, the agronomic teams of the Alliance BFC and TSE accompanied by the farmer sowed soybeans on an area of 3 ha covered by shade and 2 ha controls to demonstrate the relevance and effectiveness of the agricultural canopy.

For this first trial, 6 different soybean varieties were planted and harvested on October 12 with very encouraging results:

• The teams observed good vegetative growth in soybeans, with normal flowering, fertilization and physiological maturation.
• The 6 varieties tested, whose maturation is more or less rapid, presented a diversity of behavior and yields: up to 25% difference in yield under the canopy and 19% on the control. This result confirms the importance of the agricultural research work carried out by the teams of the BFC Alliance and TSE.
• Despite a strong heterogeneity of the environment and in particular of the soil, the data obtained, in particular for the Soprana variety, announce extremely promising results for future harvests: no significant difference in the overall yield and the number of soybean pods outside and under the canopy, weight of 1000 grains greater under the canopy.
• The agricultural canopy also provides better protection against heat stress during heatstroke: the maximum temperature observed under the shade is 1.2° lower than the control zone.
• The soil under the shade is cooler and retains moisture better: On average, the readings indicate -3.5° C at a depth of 30 cm in the center of the shade from June to mid-August.
• The water potential is higher under the shade: at the time of flowering and the beginning of grain filling, soybeans in the control zone were under water stress, unlike soybeans under the shade.
• The canopy has a protective effect in the event of hail: “Following an episode of hail after the soybeans emerged, I was able to notice damage to the control area, while the soybeans planted under the panels were better protected” observes Sylvain Raison, the farmer.

“These initial results are very encouraging. We are completely confident for the next harvests”, underlines Fréderic Imbert, R&D Director for the BFC Alliance.

Following the soybean harvest, a straw cereal was sown on the Amance site. This new experiment is still being conducted with the agronomic teams of TSE and the BFC Alliance, as well as by INRAE, as part of the France Relance 2030 plan, which will study direct and diffuse PAR radiation under the agricultural canopy.