A partnership to scale-up investment in dual use agri-photovoltaic systems (APV), with a focus on small and medium-sized farms in the Mekong Delta. The APV systems create energy while supporting an increase in crop production from a single plot of land, benefiting farmers and investors.
Vietnam has historically been heavily dependent on coal for electricity generation. In the last year, it has increased its solar generation capacity by 25-fold. The majority of the solar panels have been installed in urban areas, on offices and factories. Converting agricultural land to solar power plants in rural areas creates issues for farmers who risk losing their livelihoods.
Agro-Photovoltaics or Agro-PV or Agri-Voltaics is a new branch of solar power engineering for effective and efficient use of roof or ground space. Here, the mounting structure is carefully engineered so that there is enough sunlight below the solar panels for plants to grow.
About the initiative
This partnership aims to scale-up private sector investment in dual use agri-voltaic systems (APV), with a focus on small and medium sized farms in the Mekong Delta. The use of agricultural land (including fish and shrimp ponds) for APV systems creates energy while supporting an increase in production from a single plot of land.
The partnership builds on a pilot model, a rooftop system on a greenhouse for vegetables in An Giang Province. The partnership with the BPP will further develop this dual use model and scale to other small and medium sized farms.
The solar power generated will create value for farmers, businesses, and financiers; generate new green jobs for local young people in remote rural areas; reduce the need for polluting thermal power; and contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Through the BPP partnership, the partners will develop different commercial models for farmers and investors, including lending from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies for the smallest models, or lease-buy arrangements with external investors for medium scale systems.
At least three business models of clean energy production combined with sustainable agriculture and/or aquaculture production will be formulated including:
(a) grid-connected small-scale solar PV with gardening, or off-grid irrigation and aquaculture equipment;
(b) Medium-scale solar PV with gardening & aquaculture – farmer owned, of 10-50 kWp;
(c) Medium-scale solar PV with gardening & aquaculture – rental, of 20-50 kWp and more.
Key contributions from partners
- Climate Sense Ltd is leading project management/coordination, formulation of a small set of detailed business plans for APV systems and investment to some medium solar PV
- GreenID is leading the design and delivery of awareness-raising and various training and the creation and operation of an information portal to support business deals in APV systems.
- Vietnam Bank for Social Policies will develop a new loan product for small and medium-sized farmers deploying APV systems.
- Vu Phong is leading the creation of standard design options for APV systems and a co-partner spreading the model to the community.
- The Asia Foundation is leading on developing the agriculture value chain and overall partnership coordination.
- Australian Government can provide catalytic funding and can offer gender expertise to strengthen social and commercial impacts, connection to an extensive network, support to capture report social impact, safeguards standards and practices and national and global recognition.
Banner photo: Mekong river at dusk by Thanyapat Wanitchanon
This partnership was selected through the BPP’s Vietnam 2020 Call for Green Recovery Partnerships.