Italy bans large-scale solar from agricultural land

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From pv magazine Italy

The Italian government has issued a new decree that prohibits the deployment of large-scale solar plants on productive agricultural land. The final aim of the decree is to “avoid desertification” of Italian agricultural land.

“We wanted to regulate the use of photovoltaic panels, and we believe that the land serves to produce and energy production must be compatible with agricultural production,” said Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida.

Lollobrigida said that  solar plants cannot be installed in agricultural areas.

“There are very advantageous tax provisions for agricultural entrepreneurs and agricultural land,” he stated. “However, if you want to deploy photovoltaic panels on the ground, you are changing the intended use of the same and therefore we do not believe that this type of practice should continue,” Lollobrigida said, noting that the new provisions will not be applied to agrivoltaic facilities.

The government said it will still be possible to continue producing energy in quarries, mines, areas under concession to the state railway, areas under concession to airport concessionaires, areas protecting the motorway strip, and areas inside industrial plants, among others.

Lollobrigida said that the government will safeguard all projects in the process of approval.

“For us, legal certainty applies and therefore the rules are valid for what will happen and not for what has already happened or on which companies have legitimately entrusted their funds or investments,” he said.

The new provisions have already generated criticism from the local PV sector.

“From what we could understand from the press conference at the end of the Council of Ministers, the government has decided to place an unnecessary restriction on photovoltaic installations on agricultural land, disregarding the commitments already ratified,” said Italian trade body Italia Solare in a statement.

Italian agricultural association Coldiretti welcomed the move to halt speculation by large investment funds, which has been putting agricultural production at risk. It has long called for the allocation of suitable areas for ground-mounted PV.

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