Romania introduces new rules for solar on farmland – pv magazine International

Romania is set to bring new solar regulations into effect until the end of 2026. The rules will allow PV, wind, biomass, bioliquid, biogas, storage projects and transformer stations to be built directly on the land in several previously prohibited fertility classes.

The Romanian parliament recently adopted an amendment to the land law no. 18/1991 which could remove regulatory barriers to the development of renewable energy projects on agricultural land.

“The new provisions have not yet entered into force, but this should happen soon”, Mihaela Nyerges, partner at the Romanian law firm Vlăsceanu, Nyerges and Partners, Told photo magazine. “It was adopted by parliament and sent to the Romanian president for promulgation, which should not take more than 20 days. After promulgation, it will be published in the official journal and will enter into force three days after its publication.

The new rules allow photovoltaic, wind, biomass, bioliquid, biogas, storage and processing projects to develop directly on extramural land under fertility classes III, IV and V. So far, development was prohibited on these sites. The new rules also provide that such land could be used for dual-use projects, including power generation and agricultural activities.

Building work has long been permitted only on sites registered as intramural building land.

“While there are specific exceptions to this rule, none of them apply to renewable energy projects,” Nyerges said. “The new law mainly paves the way for agrivoltaic projects and solves some of the authorization problems faced by developers.”

For example, the approval of a zonal urban plan (PUZ) to change land destinations to intramural will no longer be necessary.

“Instead, a special procedure to change the category of agricultural land to building land should be carried out,” she said. “However, such a procedure is significantly shorter compared to the PUZ, as the authorities must issue their approval within 45 days from the date of the application, otherwise the application is deemed to be tacitly approved.”

The new rules also set lower permit fees for photovoltaic projects in the case of dual-system applications.

“In the event of the implementation of a dual system, the change of land category from agricultural to building land will no longer apply to all of the land allocated to the renewable energy project, but only to the specific part of the land that can no longer be used for agricultural purposes,” Nyerges said. “In the case of photovoltaic projects, this is very important because a higher pillar structure allows agricultural activities/animal grazing under the panels and, therefore, a much lower ground surface is affected.”

The new law only applies to sites with a maximum area of ​​50 hectares.

“This limitation can have a big impact on the economics of photovoltaic projects, because the high connection costs may only be commercially acceptable in the event of a high capacity of the project, which requires a large area,” she said. said, noting that the new law will only apply until December 31, 2026. the EU (2021-27), in order to increase the absorption rate of available European funds. From this point of view, after the National Recovery and Resilience Plan launched several months ago, the sector is impatiently awaiting the Modernization Fund which should, after long delays, be accessible this fall.

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Amalia H. Mercado