Welcome to AgriVoltaics2022!
In 2020, the AgriVoltaics conference was “launched” and the small community, working to develop innovative solutions to combine agricultural production and PV energy, met for the first time. It was great and surprising to see that this community was actually not so small; it was spread over all five continents, and united by the belief that agrivoltaics are perfectly suited to a sustainable energy transition. We all know that there is no one solution to suit all, and that we have a long road ahead to further understand and improve agrivoltaic systems. And it is in this time, when sustainable solution are urgently needed, that our community must collaborate to accelerate the availability of sound agrivoltaic systems. Exchange of information and experiences was at the core of Agrivoltaics2021, where the importance of “connecting” agrivoltaics worldwide was highlighted, and despite it being held online it was a great success!
The growth of agrivoltaics is exponential, as indicated by the ever-increasing number of scientific publications on the topic, by the number of new agrivoltaic systems installed and last but not least by the interest that large energy players and governments have paid to agrivoltaics. In Italy, for example, the government has decided to invest over 1 bn € of the recovery fund in agrivoltaic technologies. Our community now has a great opportunity, but also a responsibility to develop and bring forward true agrivoltaic systems where the production of PV electricity is necessarily coupled to agricultural production. While we work to optimise AV systems, we must also make sure that the policies supporting their implementation will prevent agrivoltaic projects from being abandoned, and becoming nothing more than ground mounted PV systems. This should be our concern when “bringing agrivoltaics forward”.
Agrivoltaics 2022 will be organised in “hybrid mode”, though I really hope it will be the first Agrivoltaics conference that you will attend in person. The Province of Piacenza has a great tradition of energy production: the largest Italian nuclear plant operated here from 1981 until 1990, when it was closed following the referendum of 1987; there is a large hydroelectric plant on the Po River; but more importantly, you will be able to visit two of the largest and longest-standing agrovoltaic plants in Europe!
Should you need another reason to join us in Piacenza, then I should mention all the traditional foods and wines the area has to offer!
Looking forward to seeing you here,
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Conference Chair AgriVoltaics2022