Unergy announces the implementation of its first agrivoltaic projects in Colombia

The start-up goes further with its mini-solar farms model to facilitate the funding of the energy transition

Medellin, Colombia - March, 21st 2024 - Unergy, a Latin American CleanTech and FinTech specializing in the financing of high-performance renewable energy production assets, announces the implementation of its first agrovoltaic projects in Colombia, among the only ones in Latin America. While the installation of photovoltaic projects on farmland is a controversial issue in Europe, Unergy's mini-farms in Latin America provide a real answer to the agricultural problems caused by strong sunlight. Let's take a look!

Unergy's protocol is to install mini-solar farms in countries with large proportions of unexploited land, in areas with the highest levels of solar radiation on standard 2-hectare surfaces with a slope of less than 10 degrees, with purchase or lease prices dictated by agricultural potential. In short, countries with high photovoltaic potential of over 1,800 kWh/kWp, particularly in Latin America, where governments lack the liquidity to finance the energy transition.

In contrast to mega photovoltaic parks, Unergy's mini-farms are small-scale projects that reduce deforestation and enable rapid set-up and start-up in just 10 months. Together, these factors guarantee total cost control and an internal rate of return (IRR) of between 7% and 10% per year.

According to the Geographical Institute Agustín Codazzi, Colombia has around 22 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture, of which only 5.3 million are currently exploited.

With the implementation of agrivoltaic projects, Unergy goes one step further and implements a strategy of shared land use. In addition to generating electricity, photovoltaic panels benefit agricultural activities that require moderate sun exposure, such as highly productive cucurbit cultivation, and raising small livestock. They also reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation, further improving environmental aspects, and reducing the cost of agricultural resources.

As for social impact, Unergy's mini-farms contribute to the development of rural communities in developing countries. In Colombia, the start-up's first photovoltaic projects are accompanied by support for local productive players such as schools, agricultural cooperatives, and small independent producers.

While a recent study by the European Commission reported "if just 1% of France's agricultural land were to be used for agrivoltaic systems, the country could reach ten times its cumulative installed capacity in 2022, which would far outstrip the progress observed in other developed economies of the European Union", the Unergy model continues to attract interest. In Europe, it serves as an inspiration and attracts more and more investors.

Each Unergy mini-farm requires an initial investment of around 1 million US dollars (930 thousand euros) and, through the sale of energy, generates between 150 thousand USD and 180 thousand USD in net profits per year. As of today, the startup has raised over USD 20 millions from individual investors and has announced due diligence procedures for over USD 100 million of private and institutional capital.

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