Implementing agriPV regulation in Greece to boost projects and retain workers

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
Panellists at Large Scale Solar Southern Europe discuss the state of agrivoltaics in Greece and Italy
Italy’s ban on agriPV puts the industry in a “regulatory flux,” said Patrick Donati at LSS SE. Image: Jonathan Touriño Jacobo for PV Tech.

In general, the conversation around agrivoltaics (agriPV) centres how to implement solar PV with agricultural land. Another aspect to take into account is how these projects can help attract the support of local communities through job creation, or encouraging young people to remain in the area instead of leaving the countryside for cities.

These were some of the thoughts of Thomas Stavrou, country manager in Greece at French renewables developer Valorem, who spoke at a panel on agriPV at Solar Media’s Large Scale Solar Southern Europe event in Athens, Greece last week.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

“It is very important to keep people in the area”, said Stavrou, who noted that the importance of agriPV does not only rely on developing the projects and adding capacity but also on keeping younger people in villages.

“It also goes into creating a whole ecosystem around allowing local youth and also older people to be employed locally, rather than moving into the cities,” agreed Patrick Donati, co-founder and managing director at independent power producer Terrawatt. “This is extremely important. This is one of the main benefits that we can get.”

However, this relies on “proper regulation for agrivoltaics” in Greece, added Stavrou, as the market for agriPV in the country is currently non-existent, although some projects are in the pipeline that would implement elements of agriPV.

Costas Caralis, country manager in Greece at solar developer Hive Energy, agreed, noting that “there’s no legal framework for it,” at present.

Italy’s ban on agriPV

Speaking of the current state of agriPV in Southern Europe, the main concern comes from Italy’s recent ban on the application of solar PV projects on agricultural land. “The issue that we find ourselves in now is that we are in a moment of great regulatory flux,” said Donati.

The new legislation only allows for advanced agriPV on agricultural land, with a series of restrictions – as required in the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) – with an agricultural firm owning 51% of the company managing the solar farm, explains Donati. Given that, more often than not, Italian farmers have limited capital resources, this will limit the deployment of more agriPV capacity in Italy for the time being.

“At least for now, the market is stationary until this legislative issue gets resolved,” explained Donati, adding that nearly 700 simple agriPV projects have been awaiting an environmental assessment since 2020.

This is in contrast with the sentiment of Italian farmers, who Donati mentions are “very enthusiastic about giving away a portion of their land to put on solar panels. Because they really need that steady income, to be able to offset the irregularity of the income from agriculture.”

Aside from the Italian setback on agriPV – a ban that contains some “contradictions”, as covered last month (Premium access) – implementing the use of agricultural land with solar PV continues to be of interest within the industry. So much so, that last year, agriPV was the cover feature of PV Tech Power 34 (Premium access), with an article that looked at the combination of both industries across several countries.

Although most of the applications of agriPV might have potential for the utility-scale sector, the rooftop market can also be a key element in merging the production of electricity and food production in urban environments.

Faster authorisation process through agriPV

One of the key advantages of developing an agriPV project in Italy, up until recently, was the faster process by which developers could receive authorisation to build a project, explained Donati. He noted that a 20MW project could take between one and three years to receive authorisation, whereas an agriPV plant of the same size will be fast-tracked in six months.

Donati reiterated the initial sentiment that agriPV brings more than just solar PV plants in villages but can “have a much more positive impact on local communities.”

“To create a strong and positive relationship with local stakeholders, creating jobs for the local communities, that actually means that the benefit of these farms goes beyond just the economic for whoever is acquiring the energy,” said Donati.

Read Next

July 3, 2024
Interest in co-locating solar PV with energy storage is increasing in Southern Europe, as grid curtailments and negative or near zero prices for solar PV become more frequent.
July 2, 2024
Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at HELAPCO looks at the current state of the solar PV market in Greece and what role energy storage plays.
July 1, 2024
Swedish thin film solar manufacturer Midsummer has secured roughly €8 million (US$8.6 million) to support the development of its 50MW copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film cell manufacturing plant in Italy.
June 28, 2024
Ahead of Large Scale Solar Southern Europe next week in Athens, Greece, PV Tech spoke with some of the panellists present at the event about the solar Greek market, including its challenges (curtailment, grid), policy support, and new technologies (agriPV, FPV, or green hydrogen).
June 28, 2024
Green hydrogen production could give solar PV deployment a boost in Southern Europe, writes Aurora Energy Research research lead expert of Southeastern Europe Panos Kefalas.
June 27, 2024
PV Tech spoke with Alejandra Pérez-Plá, regional manager – Mediterranean at financial advisory firm Global Capital Finance about challenges related to land acquisition for utility-scale solar PV projects in Southern Europe, how to manage these issues and grid modernisation.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Upcoming Webinars
July 10, 2024
9am (BST) / 10am (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA