It is the "first agrivoltaic demonstrator in the world, with remote-controlled panels" that meet the needs of the plant, explained Antoine Nogier, the founder of the company Sun'R who manages the project.
Installed on metal structures more than 4m above the ground, the new photovoltaic panels cover 4,5 hectares of vines in the family estate of Nidolères, or 30% of the operating area.
The young plants of the different grape varieties - white grenache, chardonnay or red marselan - are not hidden from the sun, because the panels can be erased by pivoting to provide the necessary light for the vine.
The system makes it possible to meet the physiological needs of the plants in an optimal way thanks to software produced according to research on the benefit of shade for the plants and sensors measuring the sunshine or the hydrometry of the soil.
The installation and monitoring of the system for "10 to 15 years" is entirely taken care of by the operator Sun'R, because "this experiment also represents a risk for the farmer" and because it is necessary to see "how the vine reacts, "concedes Mr. Nogier.
"From next year, we will see the evolution of the plants," said the president of Sun'R. "In terms of quality, for wine it will take a few years, 3 years minimum".
In return, the installation has financial advantages, on the one hand because "the power station will bring 5.000 euros per hectare of added value to the farmer", or almost "one euro per liter of wine".
But also because the shade provided to the plants allows "to save 20 to 30% of water depending on the crops". A figure that could further increase, given global warming. "If we don't adapt them, the vineyards will disappear," he says, because "the climate in 20 years will be radically different from today".
"This type of plant should develop. We are only at the beginning," says Sun'R, which is currently studying 10 to 20 agrivoltaïc projects for arboriculture, market gardening and vines around the Mediterranean and the Rhone basin.
The Tresserre power plant cost 4 million euros and the overall project currently stands at 21 million, including research and development costs.