Due to the changes in weather and precipitation that can be attributed to climate change, Agricultural PV is rapidly gaining importance. Spurring widespread implementation of Agri PV, several countries are establishing themselves as pioneers in its application – one of which is Italy: With a federal funding program and expedited permitting processes, it is leading the way in implementing this dual land-use technology.
In April this year, the Italian government launched an innovative incentive program which is waiting to be approved by the European Commission. As part of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), the program sees the allocation of 1.1 billion euros to “advanced agrivoltaic systems”. This means that around 1.04 gigawatts (GW) of Agri PV capacity will be installed by June 2026. The funding program will reimburse up to 40 percent of the systems purchase costs, and the power will be purchased through a feed-in tariff.
In June, Italy also determined guidelines to distinguish between ordinary “agrivoltaic systems” and “advanced agrivoltaic systems”. According to the guidelines, the land must remain fully usable for agriculture for the system to be considered “advanced”, so the modules need to be elevated at a minimum height. Furthermore, they are required to include a monitoring system that measures the effects of the photovoltaic system on the crops.
According to data from the World Bank, two percent of Italy’s gross domestic product came from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in 2022 (compared with 1.1 percent for Germany and 1.3 percent for Austria). Innovative photovoltaic applications in agricultural fields could also contribute to the development of rural areas in Italy.
As part of this initiative, the Italian government approved 593 megawatts (MW) worth of PV capacity in May this year. This capacity is spread over a total of 13 Agri PV projects, most of which are located in the regions of Apulia and Basilicata. The capacities range from 43 MW to 53 MW per system.
SENS, a service provider in the field of renewable energy based in Würzburg, Germany, is building an Agri PV system with 135 MW in Sicily, where olive and fig trees will be grown between the rows of modules. North of Rome, the Italian company enel Green Power is constructing the largest Agri PV power plant with a capacity of 170 MW.