Land Use & Permitting
Solar, Biodiversity, Land Use: Best Practice Guidelines
The EU is facing a double challenge of ensuring environmental quality and speed of deployment for secure, sustainable and affordable solar energy.
European Member States will need to accelerate the permitting procedures and provide visibility to developers while allocating land in a harmonious, balanced manner to make sure different land uses coexist. In the meantime, the industry will need to invent new business models that would tackle at the same time Solar Energy production, Food security and Nature conservation. This is possible via innovative solutions such as Agri PV or Floating PV.
The Land-Use and Permitting workstream aims to promote a swift and efficient deployment of inclusive and integrated utility-scale solar PV within a fully renewable energy system, compatible with ecosystem restoration, nature conservation and agriculture. To achieve these objectives, the Land-Use and permitting workstream works with expert in sustainability, spatial planning and permitting to produce guidance, policy papers and recommendations to the EU institutions, the national authorities and the solar sector on how to ensure that the deployment of solar power is compatible both with our renewable energy targets and our nature conservation and restoration objectives.
Europe has the highest proportion of land (up to 80 %) used for settlement, production systems (in particular agriculture and forestry) and infrastructure, therefore requiring cautious spatial planning for solar PV
Meeting today’s total electricity demand with only solar PV would require only 0,26% of EU land
Today, permitting a utility-scale solar PV plant can take up to 5 years
Agrivoltaics can enable a more efficient use of land, protect the crops and can even restore biodiversity below the PV panels
The Land Use & Permitting workstream
The Land Use & Permitting workstream
The Land-Use and Permitting workstream aims to promote a swift and efficient deployment of inclusive and integrated utility-scale solar PV within a fully renewable energy system, compatible with ecosystem restoration, nature conservation and agriculture. A swift deployment means that it should be compatible with our 2030 goal of 1TW solar in Europe, and efficient means that it should provide cost-competitive energy. The deployment shall also be done in consultation and involvement of local citizens, hence its inclusive aspect.
Solar and biodiversity can work in perfect harmony, having a positive impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. The Workstream promotes best practices in close coordination with environmental and biodiversity NGOs, to ensure solar projects respect, protect and promote biodiversity.
Our aim is to promote innovative and integrated PV solutions, such as agrisolar, agriPV and floating PV. Agrisolar refers to the integration of solar PV projects within an agricultural activity. Agrivoltaic (or AgriPV) systems are agrisolar solutions where a PV installation and a sustainable agricultural activity are co-located, and light management is performed such as the PV systems shading crop, adapted ground mounted systems to co-locate grain cultivation or in co-location with animal grazing, and PV installations on greenhouses. Floating PV (or FPV) refers to solar installations on water bodies, allowing an efficient use of land and positive environmental benefits (prevention of algae proliferation).
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Our major accomplishments
Land Use & Permitting accomplishments
- The publication of the Permitting Position Paper in July 2022
- The publication of the Solar, Biodiversity, Land Use Report in October 2022
- The publication of a position paper on permitting for the trilogues
- The organization of the Solar Sustainability Conference in October 2022
- The advocacy on the Renewable Energy Directive
Interview with Eva Vandest, chair of workstream
European ambition and goals for solar energy has increased exponentially to achieve the energy transition. In order to successfully achieve those targets, the solar sector has to be an example and leader in sustainable development, respectful of nature and European citizens. The Land Use and Permitting Workstream will share experience, expertise and recommendations to increase best practices in land management through a specific focus on biodiversity and dual-use business models like Agrisolar and Floating PV.Read the interview