Vespera: Interview with the agronomist Cosimo Antonazzo
We interviewed the agronomist Cosimo Antonazzo, with whom Vespera Energy has an ongoing collaboration dealing with agrivoltaics projects. Here his words!
Tell us about yourself: who is Cosimo Antonazzo?
My name is Cosimo Antonazzo, I am an agronomist and technical manager of Giuliano s.r.l. as well as a technical consultant for the agrochemical company Biogard. My work specifically includes field consulting regarding plant defense and nutrition, which specifically are wine and table grapes, citrus fruits, and stone fruits (peach, apricot, nectarine, olive). I deal specifically with plant defense and nutrition to get the best fruits possible.
What is your collaboration with Vespera Energy like?
With Vespera Energy, I am involved in the feasibility assessment on an agricultural plot of a particular agricultural crop that will then coexist with the PV system. If the project is successful, the agrarian crop in question will be supervised from the standpoint of defense and nutrition by me.
Do you see agrivoltaics as a viable solution to combine agricultural and energy production? How did you get this conclusion? Do you think it is the new frontier of sustainable agriculture?
Yes, I can see agrivoltaics and energy as a viable solution as it can benefit both: profit and environment. In this instance, we can produce both agricultural products and energy at the same time, which is a win for both parties.
Is there a need for a change of mindset on the part of farmers and farms towards agrivoltaics?
Yes, there is a need for a radical change of mentality by farmers everyone is taking about sustainable agriculture, respect for and protection of the environment and safeguarding the natural habitat.
How does agrivoltaics impact water use?
By putting panels over the crops, meaning we create a microclimate that can be controlled by us and is more efficient and is more beneficial for the crops and water usage. The evaporation process is slowed down, the panels favor diffused light rather than direct sun light and will also reduce the direct impact of winds. All of this contribute to a reduction in the consumption of water of 20 %. Even utilizing a rainwater channelization system could collect and use an additional 5% of water from rainfall for farm purposes.
What do you think is the priority scale of agrivoltaics?
In descending order: Agriculture – Biodiversity – Energy.
What impact do you think this new technology can have on the market?
New scenarios will open up in the market where those who will adapt Agri photovoltaics will have additional positive feedback; the agricultural product will be ‘more’ sustainable and have more attractive access to international markets by the GDO (large scale retail distribution) channels and beyond.