Unergy announces its first agrivoltaic projects in Colombia

While installing photovoltaics (PV) on agricultural land is a controversial topic in Europe, Unergy mini-farms in Latin America offer a real answer to agricultural problems caused by strong sunlight.

Unergy, a Latin American CleanTech and FinTech company specialized in financing high-performance renewable energy production assets, announces the implementation of its first agrivoltaic projects in Colombia, among the only ones in Latin America.

While installing photovoltaic projects on agricultural land is a controversial issue in Europe, Unergy mini-farms in Latin America offer a real answer to agricultural problems caused by strong sunlight.

Unergy’s protocol consists of installing solar mini-farms in countries with large proportions of unexploited land, in areas with the highest levels of solar radiation on standard surfaces of 2 hectares with a slope of less than 10 degrees, with purchase or lease prices dictated for agriculture. potential. In short, countries with a high photovoltaic potential, greater than 1,800 kWh/kWp, particularly in Latin America, where governments lack liquidity to finance the energy transition.

Unlike mega photovoltaic parks, Unergy mini-farms are small-scale projects that reduce deforestation and allow rapid installation and commissioning in just 10 months. Together, these factors guarantee total cost control and an internal rate of return (IRR) of between 7% and 10% annually.

According to the Agustín Codazzi Geographic Institute, Colombia has around 22 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture, of which only 5.3 million are currently exploited.

With the implementation of agrivoltaic projects, Unergy goes one step further and implements a land sharing strategy. In addition to generating electricity, photovoltaic panels benefit agricultural activities that require moderate exposure to the sun, such as the highly productive cultivation of cucurbits and the raising of small livestock. They also reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation, further improving environmental aspects and reducing the cost of agricultural resources.

In terms of social impact, Unergy mini-farms contribute to the development of rural communities in developing countries. In Colombia, the start-up’s first photovoltaic projects are accompanied by support for local productive actors such as schools, agricultural cooperatives and small independent producers.

While a recent study by the European Commission reported that “if just 1% of France’s agricultural land were used for agrivoltaic systems, the country could reach ten times its cumulative installed capacity by 2022, which would far exceed the progress seen in other developed economies. of the European Union”, the Unergy model continues to arouse interest. In Europe, it serves as inspiration and attracts more and more investors.

Each Unergy mini-farm requires an initial investment of around 1 million US dollars (930 thousand euros) and, through the sale of energy, generates between 150 thousand and 180 thousand dollars of net profits per year. As of today, the startup has raised over $20 million from individual investors and announced due diligence procedures for over $100 million in private and institutional capital.