- Q Energy France has inaugurated a pilot hydrovoltaic project in the country powering a hydroponics horticultural site
- The 9.3 kW system powers the site Montauban, Tarn et Garonne since August 2021
- Within the year, it has been found to have contributed to better agricultural yield while saving the plants from frost and rain
French renewables company Q Energy France along with local startup Aquacosy have officially inaugurated the country’s ‘very first’ hydrovoltaic prototype project with 9.3 kW solar PV capacity to power a hydroponics site with encouraging initial results.
The pilot project has been operational since August 2021 in Montauban, Tarn et Garonne region on an area of 250 m² where it is powering the hydroponics site – an above the ground horticultural system that involves growing plants without soil, using water-based mineral nutrient solutions.
It has a hydraulic system attached with 2 rainwater collection gutters and a tank with a pump system. Q Energy says this innovative system, designed according to a protocol validated by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), protects crop growth from frost, heat and wind while saving water resources.
In the 1st year of its operation, the team found higher agricultural yield and extension of production seasons, along with protection of the plants against negative effects of wind and frost.
“This is an ideal tool for territories wishing to establish a local value chain for food and for energy while creating jobs in the agricultural sector,” said Solar Director of Q ENERGY France, Céline Spitzhorn.
They argue that this innovative system has no negative environmental impact and can grow 100% natural, diversified and densified production using 5 to 15 times less space. Both the partners are now looking for land for a larger project to demonstrate its applicability for wider agricultural production.