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"Agrivoltaica", a new concept that Endesa is applying in its renewable energy plants in Spain

Image of the Totana photovoltaic panels with the newly planted crops.
Image of the Totana photovoltaic panels with the newly planted crops.
  • Endesa is a pioneer in the application of this technology in Spain and has started to return the use of renewable soil to the primary sector in its photovoltaic plants in Valdecaballeros and Augusto in Extremadura, Totana in Murcia and Las Corchas in Andalusia.
  • Red peppers, broccoli, artichokes, thyme, pitayas, sage, oregano, rosemary, lavender, coriander, aubergines, broccoli, cauliflowers and courgettes, are just some of the crops that are being grown in these Endesa renewable installations.

Agrivoltaica: This concept that unifies solar energy and agriculture aims to use much of the land occupied by a photovoltaic plant for agricultural use, to preserve biodiversity and create shared value with local communities.

Endesa is a pioneer in the application of this technology in Spain and has started to return the use of renewable soil to the primary sector in its photovoltaic plants in Valdecaballeros and Augusto in Extremadura, Totana in Murcia and Las Corchas in Andalusia.

"The agri-voltage project we are developing," explains Roberto Andrés, head of environmental innovation in Endesa, "not only focuses on the maintenance or recovery of agricultural or livestock activities where a photovoltaic plant has been built or is planned for construction, but a very important component of the project focuses on the recovery, promotion and improvement of local ecosystems and habitats by focusing efforts on soil recovery and those species that are essential for maintaining or improving crops, such as pollinating species."

Endesa has selected for each site specific activities, taking into account factors such as the existing previous ecosystem, the traditional use of soil in each site, the type of soil, the availability of water resources, etc., all determined by climatic conditions.

To assess the agronomic feasibility of the solutions proposed at each plant, a team of Experts from Endesa visited the sites to collect all the information required to undertake the project, such as site conditions, available water resources, nearby farmers interested in cultivation and/or grazing, information on local cooperatives, specific traditional crops, etc. But not only do we have to take into account the type of crop, but we also have to analyse the impact that any of the agri voltaic activities may have on the operation and maintenance of a photovoltaic plant.

As a result of this analysis Endesa has already cultivated in Totana, with the cooperation of the Murcian Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDA), species such as red peppers, broccoli, artichokes, thyme and pitayas. The Las Corchas photovoltaic plant in the Sevillian town of Carmona will be the next to have new plantations amongst the photovoltaic panels. With the cooperation of the Extremadura Agricultural Technology Centre (CTAEX), over the coming months Endesa will be growing aromatic and medicinal plants such as sage, oregano, rosemary, lavender and coriander for cosmetic and food use.

Endesa and CTAEX will also be growing different species this spring in the Company's photovoltaic plants in Augusto and Valdecaballero in the province of Badajoz. Horticultural crops such as aubergines, broccoli, cauliflowers and courgettes will be planted in Augusto. Leguminous varieties such as alfalfa will also be planted to promote biodiversity. In Valdecaballeros however, species such as polyphyte meadow for animal use and aromatic and medicinal plants for cosmetic and medicinal use will be planted.

With this initiative the aim of Endesa is to improve the environmental footprint and generate value for the local community through land sharing in large photovoltaic plants, thus enhancing sustainability of projects in the long term.

In addition to growing crops, Endesa is also implementing synergies with local herders to use the natural clearing of vegetation by sheep in photovoltaic plants. An initiative that has been supported by the local community in both Totana and Carmona, as well as in Endesa's photovoltaic plants in Extremadura.

With all these initiatives Endesa is in line with the European Green Pact which has established a clear roadmap to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This European Pact is linked to agricultural policies that will enable the primary sector to adapt to the current context. This is the reason for Endesa's innovative policy in matters of sustainability that enables a blend of innovation and tradition.

 

About Endesa

Endesa is the largest electricity company in Spain and the second largest in Portugal. It is also the second largest gas operator in the Spanish market. Endesa operates an end-to-end business from generation to marketing and through Endesa X also offers value-added services aimed at the decarbonisation of energy uses in homes, companies, industries and Public Administrations. Endesa is firmly committed to the United Nations SDGs and therefore strongly supports the development of renewable energies through Enel Green Power España, the electrification of the economy and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Endesa Foundation is also active in CSR. Our workforce numbers around 9,600 employees. Endesa is a division of Enel, Europe’s largest electricity group.

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