French utility EDF Renewables and Cero, a start-up portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, have signed a deal to buy agrivoltaic pioneer Green Lighthouse Development (GLHD).

GLHD, which has a 2.4GW solar development portfolio in France, specialises on projects with co-located agricultural activity and renewable energy production.

Under the agreement, EDF Renewables and Cero will each purchase a 45% stake in GLHD for an undisclosed amount, while the developer’s founders will keep the remaining 10% stake. EDF is a subsidiary of French state-owned nuclear power giant Électricité de France, or EDF.

“EDF Renewables is thrilled by the opportunity to invest in Green Lighthouse Development, who are ideally positioned to leverage the emerging agrivoltaic market,” said EDF Renewables executive vice president for France, Nicolas Couderc.

“The combined experience of Cero Generation and EDF Renewables will help GLHD to become a leader in the French agrivoltaic market."

The deal is subject to the relevant anti-trust authorities' final regulatory approvals.

France targets to boost its solar energy capacity to 44GW by 2028, up from 10.9GW at the end of last year. But to meet the ambitious target, large amounts of land will be needed, making co-location and multi-use solutions increasingly important, EDF Renewables said.

“France has hugely ambitious plans for solar energy. Agrivoltaic projects provide an opportunity to deliver that ambition, while supporting crop production and providing farming communities with additional revenue streams,” Cero Generation chief executive Nikolaj Harbo said.

Cero was only launched in February of this year, but already has stake in an 8GW portfolio of over 150 utility-scale and on-site generation projects.

EDF Renewables recently signed a charter of best practices with France’s National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FNSEA) and the French Chambers of Agriculture to develop photovoltaic projects on agricultural land.

The utility is engaged in research and development in order to develop technical solutions to enhance the complementarity between agriculture and solar development, with the goal to become a leader in the French solar market, with a 30% market share by 2035.