AGRINERGIE® is the intelligent combination of energy and agriculture in a single project.
A key concept in deriving the maximum value from land,
Agrinergie® is at the heart of the projects developed by Akuo Energy.
Created in 2007 by the Akuo Energy group, Agrinergie® is an innovative concept that combines farming and energy production on the same site. Based on the observation that ground-based solar panels can reduce the arable land available in an area, Agrinergie® has reinvented solar power by creating synergy with the world of agriculture.
Using the revenue generated from the sale of electricity, Akuo Energy finances all the improvements needed for the farming of the land, working with the project’s agricultural partners. Depending on locally identified needs, Akuo Energy selects the structure best suited to the type of farming proposed: with panels mounted on the ground, on sun-shades or on greenhouses.
AGRINERGIE® : first generation
The first generation of Agrinergie® projects combined farming with ground-based solar panels: crops are farmed between rows of panels, making the surplus land rented by Akuo Energy available to the farmer. To achieve this, agronomists from Akuo Energy work to find solutions suited to the constraints and opportunities of each site, with an emphasis on traditional crops and local expertise as part of a holistic and sustainable approach.
For example, Agriterra, Akuo Energy’s agricultural partner in Réunion, has brought back into production segments of agriculture for which Réunion is famous: aromatic and medicinal plants (geraniums, lemongrass, and ayapana) and horticultural and market garden products (passionfruit, finger limes, anthuriums, etc.).
AGRINERGIE®, second generation
The second generation of Agrinergie® projects developed by Akuo Energy superimposes farming and solar energy, using greenhouses with a semi-photovoltaic cover. This allows electricity to be generated whilst neutralizing land use; meanwhile the farmer has an efficient facility, as crops are protected from the vagaries of the weather, particularly where the greenhouses are cyclone-proof.
Greenhouses, which are generally too expensive for smaller farms, are made available to the farmer at no cost. Farmers can thus manage their production cycles more closely, control yields, improve harvest quality and limit the use of chemicals. This win-win partnership gives Akuo Energy’s projects unique qualities of sustainability.
The Agrinergie® farm with photovoltaic greenhouses operated by Jean Bernard Gonthier on Réunion is a family farm whose development is based on diversification and “de-intensification”. Located in part of the island where the notion of “the land” remains extremely powerful, this farming experiment concentrates on quality, variety and the taste of produce.