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Italy’s new rules on ground-based photovoltaic plants located in agricultural areas

Italy’s new rules on ground-based photovoltaic plants located in agricultural areas

On 24 January 2012, the Italian Government issued a law decree which entered into force on the same date (“Law Decree 1/2012”). The Law Decree 1/2012 may be converted into law by the Parliament within 60 days of its entry into force, or become retrospectively void. Revisions may be introduced by the Parliament at the time of the conversion.

The New Law Decree 1/2012

With reference to the incentive tariffs related to the ground-based pv plants located in agricultural areas, article 65 of the Law Decree 1/2012 provides that:

  1. Starting from the entry into force of this Law Decree 1/2012, with regard to the ground-based solar pv plants located in agricultural areas, the feed-in-tariff provided for by Legislative Decree 3 March 2011, no. 28 (the so-called 4th Conto Energia) will not be granted;
  2. Paragraph 1 does not apply to the ground-based solar pv plants located in agricultural areas that have obtained the authorization by the date of entry into force of the Law Decree 1/2012, or for which the application for the authorization has been filed by the same date, provided that the plant will commence operations within 1 year of the date of entry into force of this decree. However, said pv plants must comply with the requirements foreseen under article 10, paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Legislative Decree 3 March 2011, no. 28”, (the “Requirements”).

The Requirements

According to article 10, paragraph 4 of the Legislative Decree 3 March 2011, no. 28 (“Romani Decree”), pv plants with modules located on ground in agricultural areas will be eligible for the feed-in tariff foreseen by the Fourth Conto Energia provided that they:

a)      have a nominal capacity not exceeding 1 MW and, if the relevant land belongs to the same landowner, are located at a distance not lower than 2 kilometres;

b)      do not cover more than 10% of the agricultural plot of land in the availability of the owner of the pv plant (e.g., if the area occupied by the modules is equal to 3 ha, the applicant shall have the availability of 30 ha).

Exemption: the requirements under a) and b) above do not apply to lands that have been abandoned for more than five years (provided that such status is confirmed by the competent Region).

The effects of the New Decree 1/2012

The Law Decree 1/2012 is immediately applicable; therefore, starting from 24 January 2012, the feed-in-tariff will be granted to ground-based pv plants located in agricultural areas that have already obtained the authorization, or for which the application for the authorization has been already filed, only if they are connected to the grid by 23 January 2013 and comply with the Requirements. 

Antonella Sannicandro

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