The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food denies the confrontation between agriculture and photovoltaic energy (PV) over land use

The Spanish Photovoltaic Union, the majority sector association of solar energy in Spain that already has more than 800 associated companies, celebrates the data obtained in the study carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Spain in which it has been analyzed the impact of renewable energies, especially photovoltaic energy, on the primary sector and cropland in Spain.

This official report reveals that currently 0.2% of fertile land in Spain is occupied by solar panels, covering a total of 47,298 hectares. For its part, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that this area will double in the coming years with new projects, reaching 0.4%, without exceeding 1% of the available agricultural area by 2030.

“For more than a decade, the existing misinformation about the coexistence between agriculture, livestock and solar energy has been a cause of debate and, at times, conflict. Coexistence is not only possible but is the reality in 90% of the projects, enriching both activities. The report from the Government of Spain has once again shown that the greatest threat we face in achieving the energy transition, as well as the wide range of socio-economic and environmental opportunities it offers us, are hoaxes and fake news. ”, recalled José Donoso, CEO of UNEF.

Impact and Regional Distribution

Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura are the autonomous communities with the greatest proliferation of photovoltaic parks, occupying 11,460 and 11,349 hectares, respectively. Eight provinces concentrate 63% of the photovoltaic surface installed in Spain: Badajoz, Cáceres, Seville, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Murcia and Albacete.

None of these autonomous communities and provinces have an occupation of agricultural land greater than 0.4% with ground-based solar energy projects.

Furthermore, according to the report, 81.8% of solar panels have been installed on degraded dry lands with no biological value, and only 10.6% on irrigated land.

“At UNEF we have always defended and reaffirmed our commitment to sustainable development that allows us to complete a fair and sustainable energy transition. We are very aware that the occupation of land entails a great responsibility on the part of the promoting companies that install their projects, which must be able to ensure that their activity is carried out, generating added value in the territory in which they are located and respecting and coexisting with others. economic activities, such as agriculture and livestock,” explains Donoso.

From emptied Spain to excited Spain

At UNEF we have compiled some socio-economic data that demonstrate that, in addition to not generating any conflict with other economic activities in the territory, photovoltaics represents an opportunity to transform Empty Spain into an Excited Spain:

  • The land on which the photovoltaic installation is located is generally used on a rental basis. The value of this rental can be estimated from €1,000/ha·year to €2,000/ha·year depending on the case, the time in which the contract was signed, the area, etc. An average value of €1,500/ha·year can be assumed for these purposes.

With this average value of €1,500/ha·year, for a 1 MW plant that would occupy 2 ha, there is €3,000/year in income from land rental per MW installed, which can be reinvested in the local economy. .