As a matter of fact, photovoltaics to date is the most cost-effective technology and the best solution against the climate crisis, but there are still falsehoods about it. Let us look at them.
1. “Photovoltaic plants steal land from agriculture”
- the available agricultural area is over 16.6 million hectares
- the utilised agricultural area is over 12.4 million hectares
- the unused or abandoned agricultural area exceeds 4.2 million hectares
- the agricultural area abandoned each year exceeds 120 thousand hectares.
In order to achieve the emission reduction targets by 2030, 43 GW of new PV installations are needed, which would correspond to:
- one third of the agricultural area is no longer cultivated each year, moving into a state of neglect
- 0.9% of the total agricultural area lost
- 0.24% of the total agricultural area.
Not to mention the fact that agrovoltaics (whereby modules and agriculture can coexist on the same piece of land) is an excellent opportunity for farmers to continue cultivating their land, benefiting from the additional economic income from solar installations.
2. “Photovoltaics is a danger to the landscape and compromises biodiversity”
In areas of scenic or naturalistic value, it is not possible to install panels on the ground because they are already protected by landscape restrictions.
Furthermore, herbicides and chemicals are not allowed where photovoltaic systems are installed. Considering that much of Italy’s farmland today is ravaged by excessive use of pesticides, agrovoltaics is an opportunity to bring together clean energy production and sustainable agriculture precisely in respect of biodiversity.
3. “Photovoltaics is an unreliable source because it is unprogrammable and unpredictable”
Given the high accuracy now achieved by weather forecasts – together with the historical data available on the output of photovoltaic systems – it is easier to predict solar production.
4. “Behind the fires is the photovoltaic business”
Land affected by fire is excluded from any possible use for the next 15 years after the fire (National Law 353/2000, Art. 10).
5. “Photovoltaic panels do not reduce CO2 emissions because coal energy is consumed to produce them”
The energy required to produce a photovoltaic module is offset by the same module in less than a year of operation.