“Renewable energies have more and more weight. Fossil fuels have an expiration date. It will be one of the great businesses of the future. Besides producing food, we can also be energy producers ”.
With this futuristic vision, Leandro Diaz Mujica, General Manager of Valmont Industries Argentina, detailed the reasons for the company to join this wave by adding a new business unit. To the already known commercialization of mechanized irrigation equipment now added the development and provision of systems and equipment for photovoltaic power generation.
“In recent years, the company has been involved with sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint, which is why it has been investing in companies associated with renewable energy. It began in 2018 with the purchase of an Italian company that developed devices to move solar panels by following the sun. And last year a Brazilian company was bought for 100 million dollars that is dedicated to generating photovoltaic plants ”, described the manager, who since last year took the reins of Valmont Argentina.
As he indicated, at first the objective of the photovoltaic plants was for the pivots that the company markets under the Valley brand, which consume electrical energy both for their mobility, pumping and monitoring. “But we realized that the investment of a solar plant can supply all the consumptions of an agricultural establishment, not just irrigation, “he explained.
In Argentina, he added, it is not irrigated as in other parts of the world. Sometimes it is watered just 3 or 4 times a year, being complementary. “Only using it to feed a pivot out there gives a repayment that is not attractive but it is when it is used to feed an entire agricultural establishment,” he said.
And depending on the location of the establishment, the surplus can be injected into the national network.
“It is focused on agricultural producers but we also contacted industrialists who might have the same need,” he added.
For Díaz Mujica, both irrigation and the photovoltaic plant are complementary. “We are absolutely confident that there is enormous potential for irrigation in Argentina. 500,000 are irrigated with mechanized irrigation and the potential would reach approximately 6 million hectares. And those hectares are located in the areas furthest from the consumption centers and there is the possibility of putting up a photovoltaic plant to generate energy itself ”, he said.
The company’s goal is to be able to install 5 photovoltaic plants this year and then in 2022, with a more normal year, returning to operation than before the pandemic, going for more plants. “We have installed more than 3,500 mechanized irrigation equipment. We do not expect to put the same number in photovoltaic plants, but we have a very large universe ”, he pointed out.
In this sense, he stated that there are many countries that are venturing into this type of renewable energy. In the United States and in Brazil, this technology is becoming stronger. In the latter country there are more than 500 projects. In addition, projects are being developed in Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Eastern Europe. “It is exploding everywhere,” he said.
Finally, Díaz Mujica said that there is a lot of competition in this segment with many players who have been in the market for a long time. “But what we have as a differentiating factor is the Valley brand, which has an image of solidity, technology and innovation, and our network of distributors that are practically throughout the country,” he closed.