Sun’Agri and RGREEN INVEST launch the “Cultivons Demain!” initiative

Paris, November 5, 2020 – Antoine Nogier, President and Founder of Sun’Agri and Nicolas Rochon, President and Founder of RGREEN INVEST, are today launching the initiative Cultivons Demain!

Cultivons Demain!, the first private initiative to accelerate the adaptation of agriculture to the challenges of climate change

The “Cultivons Demain!” initiative was developed on the basis of two widely shared observations. Firstly, agricultural production must be increased to meet growing food-related requirements while at the same time facing the effects of climate change. Secondly, transitioning to a safe and zero-carbon electricity generation is a necessity regarding the environmental challenges of our century.

Although solutions to avoid building PV on agricultural lands, such as agrivoltaics, already exist, the major challenge is to make them accessible to farmers. This is what Sun’Agri, a France-based provider of dynamic agrivoltaic solutions aiming to increase agricultural yields, and RGREEN INVEST, an independent French management company specializing in green energy infrastructure, have decided to implement through an initiative called “Cultivons Demain!”

Sun’Agri and RGREEN INVEST are therefore calling all public and private stakeholders concerned about adapting agriculture to climate change to join the Cultivons Demain! initiative to offer new technological solutions. The ambition is to build 300 agrivoltaic farms in France with innovative solutions allowing the improvement of agricultural yields on 1,500 to 2,000 hectares. These farms, thanks to the infrastructures installed and their embedded intelligence, will be able to save water up to 20% and optimise the growth of cultivated plants, sheltered from climatic hazards.

“Cultivons Demain! is proof that ambition, resources and technological solutions exist to help agriculture face climate challenges,” says Antoine Nogier, CEO and founder of Sun’Agri.

 

To date, up to €200 million raised

To open the financing of “Cultivons Demain!” to investors, RGREEN INVEST has created a dedicated financing structure called Râcine (Root). To date, the management company, through its INFRAGREEN IV fund — in which the European Investment Bank (EIB) has just invested €75 million — has committed to providing €50 million of equity to project leaders. A contribution that will make it possible to raise €200 million.”If public funding is necessary for the development of new green energy production technologies, once mature, it is the role of private investors to take over,” commented Nicolas Rochon, Chairman and Founder of RGREEN INVEST. “These projects are viable and we need to spread the message so we can accelerate the development of these solutions for the future!” he added. INFRAGREEN IV, labelled “Greenfin Label France Finance Verte”, is a fund specialised in financing energy transition and adaptation to climate change related projects. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of its investors.

“We are very pleased to support this RGREEN INVEST initiative alongside BPI France and the Chambers of Agriculture with a new investment of €75 million in the INFRAGREEN fund” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB). “As the European Climate Bank, it is our responsibility to support innovative projects that contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change in key sectors of the economy, such as agriculture”.

Priority given to the agricultural project

Subjected to a complex set of challenges to provide a more respectful, qualitative, and quantitative agriculture, farmers are sometimes faced with contradictory injunctions.

“Cultivons Demain!” is a tool that puts them back at the heart of their agricultural project and make their farms more resilient to climate change.

 

Driven by farmers convinced of the need to adapt their crops, the initiative mobilizes the French agricultural ecosystem: farmers, banks, insurance companies, communities, agritech companies and Chambers of Agriculture. Cultivons Demain! already has financial support from the EIB and BPI France.

All supporters respect the Cultivons Demain! charter established by Sun’Agri and Râcines, whom commit on a long term to certain principles.

The Cultivons Demain! initiative is framed by a charter that ensures that “the farmer is the first interested in the project in all its components”. The project management has an agronomic aim above all, as the agricultural production takes priority over the electricity one. The establishment of control plots, the reversibility of the systems installed or the evaluation, by independent third parties, of the results that will be made public are all crucial guarantees for the farmers.

 

 

 

 

Dynamic agrivoltaism for the benefit of farmers 

Dynamic agrivoltaism is a system of agricultural shutters equipped with mobile solar panels located above the plantations (fruit, market gardening and tree plantations). These panels are constructed at a sufficient height that allows the passage of agricultural machinery and does not disturb the air flow. Thanks to a control by tailored algorithms of the needs of the plant, its growth model or the weather conditions, the panels’ shutters tilt according to the need of sunlight or shade and the temperature (frost, etc.). With this system, crop protection against climatic hazards is accompanied by an increase in agricultural yields, significant water savings and the production of green energy (video explanations on this link).