Innovative Solutions Sought To Pair PV To Improve Land Use

Iberdrola Launches Agrivoltaics Startup Challenge Seeking Low-Cost & Innovative Solutions To Improve Land Use & Complement PV Plants

Innovative Solutions Sought To Pair PV To Improve Land Use

Pictured is a 50 MW solar power plant of Iberdrola in the Spanish municipality of Azaila commissioned in May 2021 and encourages livestock farming activities on site. Iberdrola is now looking for innovative solutions to site its solar projects while improving land use. (Photo Credit: Iberdrola)

  • Iberdrola has launched an international challenge to seek improved land use solutions for solar PV plant sites
  • Proposals will be accepted for solar PV plants combined with either 1 of the 4 focus areas of agriculture, horticulture, livestock, and fish-farming or bee-keeping
  • Iberdrola’s Renewables division will assess proposals received, declare the winners who can work on a pilot project to evaluate the efficacy of the solution offered

Calling solar PV generation as one of the group’s main pillars of growth, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has sought proposals to seek low-cost and sustainable solutions to improve land use for solar power plant sites, by combining solar PV plants with activities related to either 1 of the 4 focus areas, namely agriculture, horticulture, livestock, and fish-farming or bee-keeping.

A competition has been launched by the venture capital arm of Iberdrola called PERSEO  under its International Startup Program, and reflects on the group’s efforts to expand its PV portfolio in the total generation capacity. In 2020, it installed 874 MW new solar capacity. By 2025, it aims to report 16 GW solar PV capacity out of 60 GW of renewables capacity (see Iberdrola Aims For 16 GW Solar Capacity By 2025).

While expanding its solar PV capacity, it ends up exploring places where the local economy is largely based on agriculture and livestock production, hence it stressed that the group is looking to expand in a sustainable way.

Challenge

The Agrivoltaic Startup Challenge launched by the company’s Renewables division aims to use these solutions to allow primary sector activities and solar PV facilities to complement each other and create synergies on the same land. Iberdrola said these solutions will enable it to promote local economy especially where there are demographic challenges posed by progressive depopulation, fight climate change and support energy transition.

It will be on the lookout for solutions that:

  • contribute towards improving or optimizing the productivity of the land, minimizing the potential penalty for electricity production
  • lead to better water management, temperature optimization, heat and refrigeration supply for facilities and processes, etc.
  • offer competitive investment costs compared to conventional PV solutions.
  • focus on minimizing the operating and maintenance costs of PV plants as well as the costs for the complementary land use
  • are remotely operated and ones that allow for totally autonomous management

Reward

Iberdrola will enter a collaboration agreement with the winners under which they will launch a pilot project with the Spanish company covering costs while extending full technical support to test the solution. If the pilot is successful, Iberdrola will add the solution to its service territory and relevant group companies, and may enter commercial agreements to further scale it up.

For the winner, it may also mean Iberdrola investing in the solution through PERSO. Interested companies have time till June 11, 2021 to submit their applications, according to tender details. Winners will be announced sometime in September/October 2021, as the company looks at 2021/2022 to implement the pilot project.

In September 2019, the group has launched a call for international startups working in waterless and low-cost panel cleaning solutions (see Iberdrola Competition For Waterless PV Panel Cleaning).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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