20 November 2023
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Supporting local development in Cuba with agrivoltaic energy
Agrivoltaic energy can be seen as the perfect fusion of agriculture and photovoltaics. It is about harnessing the use of the land beneath the solar panels for various crops and livestock. Solar farms are transformed from dry, barren plots of land to lush, lively spaces. This is a major step towards a more sustainable development
Carbon footprint reduction, crop production or job promotion are some of the benefits of agrivoltaic energy, a sustainable alternative for solar farm land. It is an increasingly common trend that offers a second life to abandoned soils dedicated exclusively to the exploitation of solar energy. However, these spaces have good growing conditions, as the solar panels protect them from the sun and adverse weather conditions.
Cuba and agrivoltaic energy: social, economic and environmental benefits
From a social point of view, the implementation of this new technology boosts job creation in the agricultural and energy sector, which helps reduce unemployment and improves people’s quality of life. In addition, through increased food production, it improves access to fresh and healthy food for the population, promotes environmental education and awareness of the importance of sustainability and the conservation of natural resources. Agri-violence promotes community participation in food and energy production, which contributes to strengthening social ties and fostering collaboration between communities.
Economically, it supports increased food and energy production, thereby reducing dependence on imports and improving food and energy security. Furthermore, agri-voltaics generates additional income for farmers by enabling them to produce both food and energy on the same piece of land, helping to improve the local and national economy as well as reducing production costs. Internationally, it is a very attractive technology for attracting foreign investment in this sector and promoting the development of sustainable and efficient technologies.
From an environmental point of view, by using the same land for food and energy production, it reduces the need to deforest new areas for the installation of solar panels, contributing to soil conservation by reducing erosion and water evaporation on the land. In effect, it promotes biodiversity by creating an environment conducive to the growth of different crops and plants, as well as beneficial insects and pollinators. On the other hand, the generation of clean energy through solar panels reduces greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to mitigating climate change.
FIIAPP committed to renewable energy in Cuba: exchanging experiences among professionals
In the framework of the EU-Cuba expert-exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, led by FIIAPP and financed by the European Union, the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) and the sister project Renewable Energy Sources for Local Development (FRE-local) have been supported to increase their knowledge and capacities related to this technology, with the ultimate goal of creating agricultural power plants in Cuba and strengthening local development in the country through renewable energies, thus increasing the country’s competitiveness in the global market.
The exchange of experiences between specialists from peer institutions is the basis of the work developed in the FIIAPP, which aims to improve public systems for people and the planet.
The implementation of agrivoltaics in Cuba could be of great importance for the country, as it would allow for a more efficient use of available resources to produce food and energy. It would also help reduce Cuba’s dependence on fossil fuels to generate electricity, which would contribute to improving the country’s energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This would be especially important in a country like Cuba, which faces significant economic and environmental challenges.
Therefore, in the framework of the Project in Cuba, UNISS professors have visited Italy and France, where they got to know different agroforestry plants, in collaboration with the Italian Association for Sustainable Agriculture (AIAS) and Learning Action for Nature and Development (LAND).
At the end of November, two experts from the Italian agency Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA) and the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) will travel to Cuba to carry out a workshop on the design and operation of agroforestry systems to support local sustainable development in rural areas.
Dr. Julio Pedraza Garciga, Professor at the Centro de Estudios de Energía y Procesos Industriales of the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) in Cuba.
Dr. C. Kolima Peña Calzada, Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) in Cuba.
Carolina González Quinteros, Technician of the EU-Cuba expert-exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, FIIAPP.
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