Renewables

Slovenia publishes draft agrisolar rulebook for public debate

Slovenia publishes draft agrisolar rulebook for public debate

Photo: Asurnipal / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

Published

July 8, 2024

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Published:

July 8, 2024

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Photovoltaics on agricultural land in Slovenia will only be allowed on supporting structures and above orchards of berries and small apple or pear trees, according to the draft rulebook. The government issued the document on agrivoltaics for public discussion until August 1.

The government in Ljubljana is apparently committed to preserving fertile soil. The Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy put up a draft rulebook for the agrisolar segment for public debate, proposing stringent requirements. It said photovoltaic panels on agricultural land would only be allowed on support structures above orchards of berries and small apple or pear trees.

Comments will be received until August 1.

Not all agrisolar is green

The agrisolar or agrivoltaics concept is among the latest buzzwords in renewables. Solar power plants take up large surfaces. Farmers and environmentalists argue that limitations are necessary for protection against a food crisis. Moreover, there is still a long way to go before even the rooftop potential alone is used up.

Some developers advertise projects as agrisolar if they plan just any agricultural activity at the site. For instance, companies in the Balkans have been trying to win over local sentiment by allowing cattle grazing between arrays.

However, grass must be cut anyway, which means almost any photovoltaic facility would be an agrisolar plant. Slovenia said the principle is to avoid the impact of solar power facilities on food production. At the same time, the photovoltaics should add the maximum possible value as an additional source of income and with plant protection and the reduction in electricity costs.

No concrete foundations for supporting structures

The new regulation stipulates that photovoltaics are allowed on surfaces classified as arable land or permanent plantations.

The supporting structure will need to be mounted without the use of cement for foundations unless it is not feasible otherwise, the document reads. Its surface on the ground cannot occupy more than 6% of the agricultural land. The solar panels must be semitransparent and let at least 40% of sunlight through.

The combined surface of solar panels would be equal to no more 70% of the total land area, including storage devices if they are part of the project.

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