VSB France sets its sights on 500 MW with new agrivoltaics strategy

Press  / Nîmes / 31.08.2023

As it takes part in the SPACE* trade fair for the first time, VSB Énergies Nouvelles, the French subsidiary of the VSB Group, will present its strategy in the field of agrivoltaics. It aims to develop 500 MW per year by 2025 and become a key player in this new market.

Developing sustainable agroforestry
French agriculture faces many challenges with ageing farmers, falling profitability of arable land, declining soil fertility, ecological transformation and the uncertainties of climate change. Agrivoltaics offers practical solutions to optimise agricultural production, without replacing it.

By combining photovoltaics with their main activity, farming, farmers can stabilise their income while increasing the value of land that has been affected by the climate or has become less fertile.

Working together for coherent, considered projects that respect everyone
VSB Énergies Nouvelles plans to develop its agrivoltaic activities in line with its overall strategy, which prioritises the development of well-considered projects and seeks cooperation early in the development process. Agriculture is at the heart of the VSB Énergies Nouvelles strategy: photovoltaics should optimise and complement agriculture, not replace it.

In order to achieve this objective, VSB Énergies Nouvelles has developed a methodology for selecting plots of land that complies with local authority requirements and the regulations in force, and which involves close collaboration with the Chamber of Agriculture. The Chamber of Agriculture is invited to participate in or help shape the preliminary agricultural surveys, ensuring continuity of land use. When suitable land is identified, such as fallow land or land that is less intensively farmed than in the past, the project is developed in consultation with the farmer and their needs. A successful project should combine carefully considered synergies, positive income effects and a fair, transparent distribution of profits. The aim is to develop relevant projects, revive livestock initiatives or even initiate entirely new projects.

Aiming high through efficient organisation and a growing workforce
VSB Énergies Nouvelles is currently working on the development of 300 MW, spread over 30 projects. The company has set itself the target of achieving 500 MW per year by 2025. VSB Énergies Nouvelles strives to be a market leader and excels in bespoke projects that are perfectly adapted to farmers’ needs. Here VSB Énergies Nouvelles will draw on its 20 years of experience, which it has used to implement proven development processes based on consultation, a key element for any project developer.

To achieve this goal, VSB has reorganised its teams and created a specialised department. It is made up of an agricultural engineer as lead developer and eight regional representatives with industry experience. Further recruitment is underway and another regional officer specialising in agrivoltaics will join the team shortly. The team will eventually consist of around ten experts.

Maël Lagarde, CEO of VSB Énergies Nouvelles, says: “Given the challenges of climate change for agriculture, rapid ecological change is needed. Agrivoltaics offers a practical solution. Our aim is to work closely with farmers and industry to drive this development and shape the agriculture of tomorrow.”

*The VSB Énergies Nouvelles teams will be present at the SPACE exhibition at Rennes Parc-Expo from 12 to 14 September 2023: Stand A08, Hall 4, Aisle A. SPACE is an agricultural exhibition that brings together all the stakeholders in the livestock sector. It focuses on a wide range of topics including feed and animal nutrition, housing, genetics, animal health, milking equipment, energy, manure treatment, organic farming, etc.

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