Current irrigation systems are inefficient and carry many shortcomings such as high operating costs (diesel or electricity consumption for irrigation pumps accounts for up to 40% of the total cost in many farms), water scarcity (water consumption for irrigation in Europe is estimated at 60 billion m3/year) and environmental damage (irrigation alone is responsible for the emissions of more than 16 million tons of CO2/year).
To achieve the climate neutrality and the EU’s clean energy transition targets, a new Financial Instrument has been developed by the H2020 SolaQua project, in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), eligible for funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). This Instrument promotes the use of solar energy for irrigation pumping, through the installation of photovoltaic irrigation systems, thus reducing energy costs for farmers, the sector’s carbon footprint, and improving water management, an increasingly scarce commodity.
During the workshop, the financial instrument has been presented, as well as other relevant materials such as a legal analysis and a set of policy recommendations, a tool for improving existing regulations in all the regions suitable for photovoltaic irrigation systems, among others. The Government of Aragon and the Comunidad Valenciana (Spain) are already implementing the new instrument and explained first-hand the steps they have taken, the obstacles encountered and the results so far.
This session was therefore mainly addressed to manage authorities dealing with the Rural Development Programmes (RDP), energy, water, or environmental departments, who would have the ability to support the instrument and facilitate its adoption at a political level. However, other stakeholders that would be beneficiaries of the instrument such as irrigation communities and farmers (to know the advantages of installing PV irrigation systems, PPA contracts, and the facilities offered by the new instrument), SMEs (to carry out the installation of the systems) and investors (that can finance these installations with guarantees) are also invited to join this event.
CPMR, in the frame of SolaQua projejct, organized the workshop, where main topics were:
- A new financial opportunity to decarbonize EU irrigated agriculture.
- The role of national and regional managing authorities.
More than 40 people attended this interesting workshop, lead by:
- Jordi Juarez, Project & Policy Officer.
- Luis Narvarte, Director of the Photovoltaic Systems research group at the Solar Energy Institute.
- Julio Pombo, Researcher, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Presentation of the new Financial Instrument.
- Francisco Domínguez, Comunidad de Aragón.
- Roser Calafat / Manuel Aldeguer, Comunidad Valenciana.
Stay tunned for more activities within this project.