Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development
Energy: At the start SYMBIOSYST, a new frontier for Agrivoltaics
Facing the ambitious target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, to increase the share of clean energy production, combining innovation, agricultural activity and solar energy production from photovoltaic (PV) , without causing additional environmental impact. This is the target of the SYMBIOSYST project, leaded by 16 partners, including for Italy, Eurac Research (coordinator), EF Solare, Convert, ETA Florence Renewable Energy, Centro di Sperimentazione Laimburg (Italy), Südtiroler Bauernbund (Italy) and ENEA, and funded by Horizon Europe programme to match energy supply issues with the agricultural sector needs and create a symbiosis where PV and agriculture can have a mutually beneficial relationship.
The concept of agrivoltaics, also called agri-PV or agro-PV, makes dual use of land for agriculture and solar energy generation, and it is one of the research fields that has been emerging in the past years with a large variety of novel agri-PV systems. The project will develop technological solutions and strategies to increase the competitiveness of agri-PV solutions across Europe minimizing the impact on landscape and surrounding environment. Other aims are to foster social acceptance and interest for agri-PV solutions and to encourage further investments.
In SYMBIOSYST, ENEA will mainly work on the topic of the landscape integration of agrivoltaics, through supporting decision making processes thanks to a GIS based early design tool and stakeholders engagement; in this context landscape integration guidelines and a best practices and demo catalogue for agrivoltaics will be delivered. Moreover, ENEA will also support training and demo tours, as well as webinars for improving the knowledge of agrivoltaics.
Considering the lessons from past mistakes which delayed the development of cost-effective solutions in the integrated PV sector and market acceptance, SYMBIOSYST is focused on the adaptation of standardized cost-effective solutions in terms of PV modules, mounting structures and Operation and Maintenance practices to the specific needs of various crops in different climates and landscapes.
The project will demonstrate the developed products and services through the set up and activation of a network of agri-PV plant demonstrators and the application, with in-field testing of the innovative solutions studied, in four agricultural scenarios differing in location, climate, size, and kind of crops.
The interdisciplinary consortium in SYMBIOSYST is composed of partners across the value chain with decades of experience in agriculture, precision farming, technology, social acceptance and participatory method, PV modules and systems, integrated PV applications such as BIPV and agri-PV.
Other partners are: Interuniversitair Micro-Electronica Centrum - IMEC (Belgium), Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands),) Aleo Solar GmbH (Deutschland), KU Leuven (Belgium), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain), Physee Products B.V. (Netherlands), Kubo Innovations BV (Netherlands), Lucisun (Belgium), 3E (Belgium), Belgisch Laboratorium Van Elektriciteitsindustrie (Belgium) and Above Surveying LTD (United Kingdom), as an affiliated partner.