The European Union (EU), through the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, has awarded €5.3 million to the REGACE Consortium to develop and demonstrate an innovative agrivoltaics technology by using CO2 enrichment to increase electricity yields.
The REGACE Consortium is composed of 12 partners from five countries.
The REGACE system, based on an initial prototype developed by partner TriSolar, will provide affordable clean energy which combines optimum crop conditions with significant energy generation. The use of CO2 enrichment will expand agrivoltaics usage to areas with less sunshine and low light conditions. Such areas in greenhouses can be used to generate power, a particularly relevant aspect due to accelerated climate change.
In addition to the economic impact, the technology will also lead to significant positive effects on ecological-environmental sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint of conventional solar energy.
“The REGACE technology will allow the dual use of land and infrastructure and will lead to reduced construction and maintenance costs, duration of execution, and the reduction of CO2 emissions caused by conventional agrivoltaic installations,” said REGACE coordinator Dr. Ibrahim Yehia of the Alzahrawi Society.
“REGACE will have a significant positive effect on ecological environmental sustainability and reduced ecological footprint. The project’s outputs will contribute to the diversification of the energy-producing market, enabling small-holding greenhouse owners to play a significant role in the market,” he added.
REGACE’s cost-effective agrivoltaic solution will offer tools to transform traditional food-growing areas into full participants in the renewable circular energy economy. Instead of large, anonymous external firms creating PV deserts in rural areas, each greenhouse owner can become a stakeholder selling clean energy. This creates new value chains of food growers who become an important part of the energy economy, creating solar energy jobs in farm economy regions.
The REGACE solution will be demonstrated in operational research and farming environments in six locations with different greenhouse types and crops.