Interview with Cédric Fargier, a grower in Châteaurenard (13)
Specializing in growing winter salads cultivated under plastic polytunnels, Cédric Fargier has chosen to replace his tunnels with an efficient and sustainable means of production: a solar-powered greenhouse.
“Market gardening runs in my family, starting with my grandfather. My father carried on and then it was my turn to take over the operation. To meet growing demand, I decided to move into growing lamb’s lettuce (also known as corn salad), but to do this, I needed to increase production and extend the growing season. This is why I took the decision to move towards an efficient means of production, such as a solar-powered greenhouse.
This is a delicate crop that we plant and harvest carefully by hand, so it was essential that the agricultural project be the priority. I didn’t want to launch myself on to the commercial market without being certain that the system would allow me to secure production and ensure lettuce quality for my customers. Starting from the agricultural side of the project and adapting this means of production to my crop was what convinced me that I needed to work with Urbasolar. The greenhouse therefore satisfied my needs as a grower and also allowed me to contribute to the energy transition by producing green electricity.
This greenhouse covers an area of 9,000 m2 and produces 0.9 MWp. The teams at Urbasolar have worked hard to produce a customized facility which best meets our needs and addresses the constraints encountered in the production of lamb’s lettuce. It therefore protects our production from the vagaries of the weather which can be particularly damaging to this type of salad leaf, ensuring our supply, and the tracker technology means we can follow the sunlight even in winter, adjust the climate inside the building and extend my growing season, something which was impossible with a polytunnel.
It’s now 1 year since I started growing in this solar-powered greenhouse and I have already completed 3 rotations of lamb’s lettuce. I’m very happy with it and I would now like to embark on another project with Urbasolar.”
Today, solar-powered greenhouses have become ultra-efficient tools for growers where the agricultural project is placed at the heart of their design. This is exactly why Urbasolar uses this approach – we are convinced that there is a clear synergy between agricultural production and the production of electricity. A true partner for growers, our group is developing, financing and constructing innovative solar-powered greenhouses which contribute to the energy transition in our rural areas.”