21 Apr 2023, 13:33
Sören Amelang

Green-led ministries quarrel over using agricultural land for solar power – media report


Germany’s green-led ministries of economics, agriculture and environment are bickering over using agricultural land for solar power, reports business daily Handelsblatt. While the economy and climate ministry of vice chancellor Robert Habeck wants to use these areas for solar energy production in order to allow a fast rollout, both the agriculture and the environment ministries are putting the brakes on these plans. The government plans to install 22 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) per year from 2026, up from this year’s target of 9 gigawatts. Habeck’s ministry wants to specify that half of this capacity will be ground-mounted systems, most of which would be installed on fields and meadows. But the agriculture and environment ministries, led by his party colleagues Cem Özdemir and Steffi Lemke, consider this highly problematic, government sources told Handelsblatt.

A spokesperson for the agriculture ministry told the newspaper that only "already sealed areas and rewetted moors" could be used for photovoltaics. The Ministry of the Environment is also "critical" of facilitating installations in open spaces, arguing there is already “strong competition for land”. But unnamed economics ministry officials said the use of ground-mounted systems was without alternative, because it would take much too long to solely focus on the expansion of roof-mounted solar arrays, according to the article.

Utility association BDEW has said that Germany’s solar PV expansion - a key component of Germany’s energy transition - must not be hampered by a lack of space and that innovative concepts such as agrivoltaics must be expanded and exploited. Last year, less than eleven percent of Germany's electricity came from solar power. That share is meant to rise steeply in coming years as the country aims for a 80 percent renewable share in its electricity by 2030.

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