Renewables, Ground Photovoltaic Agriculture Is Better for Government

With a new ordinance stopping new solar panels on potentially agricultural land, agrovoltaic remains allowed: farmers win.

  • A government-approved agriculture ordinance prohibits new photovoltaic systems on potentially agricultural land.
  • However, agrovoltaics and Pnrr-funded projects will remain allowed.
  • State of emergency declared due to drought in Sicily, measures against swine fever and brucellosis.

A better system ground photovoltaics or a hectare of cultivated fields more? For the Italian government, the second solution is preferable. The decree on agriculture issued last night by the Council of Ministers, and in particular the head of the Department of Food Sovereignty Francesco Lollobrigida and Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Pichetto Fratin namely, it stipulates a ban on installing ground-based photovoltaics in areas that are classified as “agricultural” by current urban plans.

Photovoltaics only suspended

A decision that seems to contradict the desire declared in the past to facilitate renewable energy sources, but which instead responds to one of the needs expressed in recent weeks by categories of farmers who took to the streets also in Italy as in Europe to claim a number of cases. Among them also inhibiting the installation they defined “fierce” ground photovoltaic systems, which ended up taking away available land for cultivation. The goal of the decree, the government explains, is therefore “to balance the development of renewable energy with the protection of areas designated for agriculture, while at the same time supporting projects that effectively integrate agricultural activities with the production of energy from solar sources.”

Compared to the original hypothesis, which envisaged a wider shutdown of ground-based photovoltaic systems, some important exceptions emerged from the discussions of the two participating ministers: e.g. systems financed as part of the implementation of the so-called National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr), as well as plants to be built in specific areas such as quarries, mines, private areas or under concession for state railways or airports.

However, agrivoltaics is safe

But above all, systems relating to will continue to be allowed agrovoltaic projects, which integrate solar energy production with agricultural activities “and in which the solar panels also act as protection for the crops underneath,” Lollobrigida explained at a press conference. “Let’s step in and put an end to the wild installation of ground-based photovoltaics. Obviously, with pragmatism to protect some areas, but to limit this ban to fertile land.”

For his part, Pichetto assured that even if from now on (with exceptions) it will be possible to install photovoltaics only on roofs, “the goal set by the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan from 38 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030 It remains the same.” Reassurances which, however, will not at all convince environmental associations, including Legambiente, which through the mouth of its president Stefano Ciafani, speaks of a “nonsense” rule that does not solve the problem of excessive land occupation, condemned by the agricultural world and environmentalists.”

There is also the case of Sardinia

The decree issued yesterday by the government was, in a sense, anticipated by the decision of the new president of the Sardinia region, Alessandra Todde, who somewhat surprisingly pushed a complete moratorium on new renewable power plants (in this case not only photovoltaics but also wind turbines), which supports the need to regulate concessions to prevent the disfigurement of the Sardinian landscape. Even in this case, the decision was strongly criticized by associations such as WWF, which spoke of an “anachronistic” decision that responds primarily to the interests of the world of fossil energy (especially natural gas), thus condemning Sardinia to not being in line with the energy transition”.

The new decree on agriculture then intervenes in many other points, including incentives and support for agricultural companies, interventions against the death of kiwifruit (agricultural companies affected Kiwis die out have access to interventions from the National Solidarity Fund) and measures against African swine fever and brucellosis which plague breeders and farmers, and the appointment of a commissioner – another – to combat the spread blue crab, a particularly infesting alien species, in the Mediterranean. Finally, a state of emergency was declared for 12 months due to the persistent water deficit in Sicily: the government allocated 20 million euros for this.


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