Accessible, reliable and affordable solar irrigation for Europe and beyond
SolAqua will increase the share of renewable energy in Europe by facilitating market uptake of solar irrigation (SI). By combining photovoltaic and hydraulic technology with high efficiency irrigation, SI can provide energy for irrigation with 0 emissions and at a cost of up to 70% lower than existing fossil-fuel based solutions. The potential of SI to change the energy model of European farming is huge as irrigation demands large amounts of energy for pumping water to crops. Alongside a €4 bn energy bill, the current fossil-fuel based energy model of irrigation also has a high environmental cost; it produces 16 million tons of CO2 every year, approximately 15% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions from agriculture. Nevertheless, despite its potential benefits, market uptake of SI is being prevented by a number of non-technological barriers. Also, there is a lack of awareness and skills regarding SI among irrigators and other stakeholders, such as local SMEs and public authorities.
SolAqua is the answer from a coalition of relevant stakeholders to overcome this situation. In a first stage, SolAqua will produce 7 key enabling materials and tools needed for SI market uptake but which are currently missing, such as quality standards and economic and environmental assessment methodologies. In a second stage, SolAqua will carry out a far-reaching dissemination and communication plan in order to attract more than 300,000 stakeholders in Europe and North Africa to SI in general and, in particular, to SolAqua’s exploitation plan. This exploitation plan will allow for the triggering a wellfunctioning SI market by producing a joint SI promotion of at least 100 MW (more than €120 M in investments) which will act as a flagship for the solution. Also, in order to support SI investments, the public authorities within SolAqua will produce a SI-suited supporting instrument and will allow for its replication throughout Europe.
Start date: 01/10/2020
End date: 30/09/2023
Coordinator: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Funding scheme: H2020 Programme
Budget: € 1.757.215