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Italy Bans Installation of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels on Agricultural Land

Italy's new decree prohibits large-scale solar projects on agricultural land, aiming to preserve vital farming areas while navigating the transition to renewable energy.

KJ Staff
Italy Bans Installation of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels on Agricultural Land (Photo Source: Pexels)
Italy Bans Installation of Ground-Mounted Solar Panels on Agricultural Land (Photo Source: Pexels)

The Italian government has recently introduced a decree aimed at prohibiting the installation of large-scale solar plants on productive agricultural land. This unexpected move is part of Italy's broader strategy to combat desertification and preserve its vital agricultural areas.

Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida highlighted the necessity of curbing the unchecked expansion of ground-mounted solar installations to safeguard Italy's agricultural productivity.

Under the new regulations, solar installations on non-productive agricultural land, such as quarries, as well as those financed through the recovery and resilience plan, are exempt from the ban. Additionally, agrivoltaic projects, where solar panels are integrated above fields of crops without hindering their growth, remain permissible.

The trade body for Italy’s solar sector, Italia Solare, has expressed concerns regarding the ban's impact on the country's renewable energy targets. With the government aiming for 50 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy capacity by 2030, Italia Solare maintains that utilizing just 1% of agricultural land could significantly contribute to this goal. They advocate for agrivoltaics as a solution, highlighting the potential for coexistence between agriculture and photovoltaics.

However, while agrivoltaics offer promise, further research is needed to assess their long-term impact on crop productivity and land sustainability. Despite this, agrivoltaics supporters contend that the industry is becoming more and more efficient, making it a feasible choice for future solar energy expansion.

The government's decision reflects a balancing act between promoting renewable energy and preserving agricultural resources. By prioritizing the protection of agricultural land from solar development, Italy aims to mitigate the risk of desertification and maintain food security.

Critics of the ban argue that it could hinder Italy's transition to clean energy and delay progress towards renewable energy targets. They stress the necessity for a balanced strategy that takes into account the increase of renewable energy sources as well as environmental preservation.

The ban highlights the significance of sustainable development and the protection of natural resources in the pursuit of renewable energy, even though it poses challenges for the solar industry.

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