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AUTHORIZATIONS IN THE FIELD OF PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS: LATEST IMPORTANT PROCEDURAL NEWS

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Abstract: Decreto Legge so-called “Semplficazioni bis”, converted into law at the end of July 2021, introduces important innovations in terms of procedural and authorization procedures for photovoltaic systems aimed to generally incentivize the development of renewable electricity production sources alternative to the fossil source.

 

SIMPLIFICATION OF THE AUTHORIZATION PROCEDURES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS

 

In order to give a decisive acceleration to the installation procedures of photovoltaic systems, the legislation in question simplifies the procedure for authorizing the construction and operation of photovoltaic systems up to a power of 20 Mw connected to the medium voltage electricity grid, provided that they are located in areas for industrial, production or commercial use or in landfills or landfill lots that are closed and restored or in quarries or lots of quarries not susceptible to further exploitation, for which the competent authority issuing the authorization has certified the completion of the environmental recovery and restoration activities envisaged in the authorization title in compliance with the regional regulations in force.

In particular, for the construction and operation of these systems, it is possible to use the simplified authorization procedure (so-called PAS) instead of the more complex single authorization procedure (so-called AU).

Furthermore, for photovoltaic systems with power up to 10 MW, the verification of subject to environmental impact assessment (EIA) is excluded provided that the proponent produces a self-certification certifying that the intervention does not fall within the areas deemed worthy of greater protection under the Renewables Guidelines.

There is also the possibility of proceeding with the direct construction of the photovoltaic systems bearing the above characteristics even if the urban planning requires implementation plans for the construction.

On the other hand, the state competence in the matter of environmental impact assessment (EIA) is introduced for photovoltaic systems for the production of electricity with a total power exceeding 10 Mw.

Finally, the power threshold of the system, above which the Single Authorization (AU) is required, is raised and brought from the previous 20 Kw to the current 50 kw, without prejudice to the exceptional hypothesis reported at the beginning of this paragraph.

 

INCENTIVES FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS IN CULTIVATED LAND (C.D. AGRIVOLTAICO)

 

The legislation in question introduces an exception to the general prohibition, provided for photovoltaic systems with modules placed on the ground in agricultural areas, to benefit from state incentives.

In particular, it is envisaged that the prohibition of access to the aforementioned incentives does not operate with regard to the so-called agrovoltaic systems that adopt innovative integrative solutions with assembly of the modules raised from the ground so as not to compromise the continuity of the underlying agricultural and pastoral cultivation activities.

Access to incentives is also subject to the contextual implementation of monitoring systems that make it possible to verify the impact on crops, water savings, agricultural productivity for the different types of crops and the continuity of the activities of the farms concerned.

All in order not to compromise the continuity of agricultural and pastoral cultivation activities carried out on the land.

 

REPOWERING INTERVENTIONS

 

In order to promote the simplification of the authorization procedure for the modernization of existing photovoltaic systems, the legislation in question provides that the interventions to be carried out on existing photovoltaic projects and systems which – even if consisting in the modification of the technological solution used – do not involve changes of the size, volume and area intended to house the systems themselves, can be authorized through a simplified authorization procedure (PAS) in place of the single authorization (AU), as they are not substantial changes.

And this regardless of the resulting electric power following the intervention (so-called repowering).

In any case, the procedures for verifying subjection and environmental impact assessment (EIA) remain where provided for.

 

September 13, 2021

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