Italy bans the installation of ground-mounted solar panels on agricultural land

Italy’s right-wing government on Monday banned the installation of ground-mounted solar panels on agricultural land, just days after Rome pledged to triple its installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.

“We have put an end to the crazy installation of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels,” said Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida at a press conference after the government meeting.

The ban covers photovoltaic systems placed on the ground in areas classified as agricultural, but does not apply to agrivoltaic projects in which solar panels are installed above farmland, Lollobrigida said.

Projects using EU funds, e.g. energy communities, are exempt.

Coordinamento Free, a group of renewable energy companies and environmental associations, warned on Monday that such a ban would “block many photovoltaic projects.”

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“As a result, Italy will not meet its 2030 decarbonization targets,” it said.

Clean energy is essential to reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels and maintaining the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Last week, Italy pledged with other G7 countries to triple its renewable energy by 2030.

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Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said a ban on installing ground-mounted panels on agricultural land would not stop the government from installing about 38 GW of photovoltaic plants by then.

Monday’s ban is part of a draft law that must be approved by parliament and may be modified beforehand.