Coordinator of the project:
Fraunhofer ISE – Max Trommsdorff
Partners list :
- Fraunhofer ISE (ISE) – Germany
- FruitsRouges & Co (Agri. coop.) – France
- Université Ibn Zohr, Agadir (UIZ) – Morocco
- INRA – Morocco
- Cadi Ayyad University Marrakech, Faculty of Sciences Semlalia (UCA) – Morocco
- University of the Western Cape (UWC) – South Africa
- Raach solar (RAACH) – Germany
- Insolight – Switzerland
Create a resilient agrivoltaic system to resources efficiency use, to cope with climate change and to assure food and energy security. This project aims to develop the Water-Energy-Food nexus for CO2 emission reduction. It will also contribute to the future strategy in Morocco and in African countries by leading the energy transition in combination with sustainable agriculture and innovative water management.
Context: why is this action necessary?
Food and energy security, climate change, rising prices, empowerment of producers, and the fight against poverty has forced African countries to review their agricultural strategy to upgrade and modernize the sector. In Morocco, agriculture is responsible for 33% of the employment and contributes close to 13% of GDP. In other countries such as South Africa, production is also expected to grow significantly in the coming years, showing great economic prospects in the sector. However, the growth of the agricultural sector combined with climate change exerts stress on water resources. 80-95% of water resources are used in agriculture of which 40% comes from groundwater.
Moroccan farmers are already witnessing a significant deficit, which will worsen in the near future. It is therefore critical for the agricultural sector to become more resilient and sustainable. This can be achieved by increasing efficiency in water management by using micro-irrigation systems, setting up water collection and using partial shading to reduce evapotranspiration. On the energy side, Morocco has no hydrocarbon reserves and is highly energy dependent.
In the Water-Energy-Food nexus, agrivoltaic (APV) systems, a combination of PV and agriculture on the same land, appears to be a very attractive solution to address these challenges.
What are the concrete actions that will be implemented?
The benefit of APV will be assessed in the context of agriculture in arid regions, with emphasis on the synergy between the Water-Energy-Food nexus. A first part of SmartAPV-Fruit will be focused on better understanding and demonstrating how APV can help the booming berry industry in Morocco and South Africa to become more sustainable and resilient. The second step will be focused on assessing how APV can be deployed at a larger scale for fruit and vegetable production across African countries. The project will follow a participative approach where all stakeholders will be involved in the various phases of the project implementation, including governmental agencies concerned with water-food-energy, the private sector and farmers. The outcomes of SmartAPV-Fruit will be transferred to these parties through awareness raising, capacity building, dissemination activities and training materials.
What is the expected impact of the project?
This project, led by an international and complementary consortium, will act as a foundation for the democratization and upcoming important deployment of agrivoltaics in Africa over fruit & vegetable cultures by playing y a crucial role in the Water-Energy-Food nexus.
SmartAPV-Fruit project addresses several MARs(Multi-Annual Roadmaps MARs). Specifically, the MAR4 directly with its innovative approach of combining energy and agriculture. It will help rural communities and small scale farmers to access energy and increase land productivity by combining two types of land use. Also, at the same time, developed APV system will protect crops and increase the agricultural yield, hence, for off grid application, it help to overcome the challenges of food security and help increase the income of farmers. Generated energy will further be used to prevent post harvest losses by powering the cold chain system in the industrial pilot in Kenitra.
On a broader scale, this project will help African countries to meet their energy transition target to reach net zero emissions by around mid-century and decommission their current dependency on fossil fuels.