The landscape clearance for photovoltaics

The landscape clearance for photovoltaics

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In Italy there are many so-calledrestricted areas where for any construction work, strict rules must be followed, even if it involves transformations such as the installation of aphotovoltaic system. In this context we often talk aboutarchitectural integration of photovoltaics(photovoltaic tiles and tiles, photovoltaic adhesive, photovoltaic coatings…) with specific technologies capable of not “upsetting” the landscape.

When you wishinstall a photovoltaic systemon a building located in arestricted area from a landscape, environmental or historical-artistic point of view, to proceed with the installation it is not necessary to limit yourself to reporting to the municipal offices but you must obtainpreventive clearanceby the respective competent Superintendency.

This regulatory aspect generates many implementation difficulties, so much so that in many contexts it is difficult to reconcile the need to resort toclean energywith that of preserving the landscape assets as we often find ourselves faced with the denial ofclearanceby the Superintendency.

Fortunately, in September 2013 a historical case was filed thanks to which it is possible to strengthen the right of companies and citizens to resort to renewable energies even in the so-calledrestricted areas.

ThereSuperintendency,to deny the installation of a photovoltaic system, it must justify its incompatibility with the landscape and this is not always so easy.

The Judgment of the Veneto Tar for theclearancelandscape for a photovoltaic system

The short sentence ofTar of Veneto(Section II) n. 1104, filed on 13 September 2013 and entitled "Congruence ofphotovoltaic panelswith the landscape surrounding"pulls some water to the installed mills and users residing in the restricted areas that need the clearance to proceed with the implantation of a photovoltaic roof.

The sentence was born in response to the appeal of a private citizen who had decided to install a solar system on the pitch of the roof consisting of 30 photovoltaic panels for the production of energy and 8 thermal panels for the production of domestic hot water.

At first, the citizen's request was denied by the localSuperintendence for landscape and environmental assetswhich expressed the refusal to install because it is not compatible with the surrounding landscape. In particular, the Superintendency had motivated the failureclearanceso:

” the elements to be installed would be extremely jarring with respect to the area in which they are located and such as to negatively alter the vision of the surrounding landscape, in terms of position, size, shapes, colors and reflective surface treatment.”

After the appeal presented by the private citizen to the Administrative Court of Veneto, the sentence was immediate: the Superintendency did not provide concrete reasons to justify its refusal, it did not even specify which elements of the landscape could be compromised, nor which characteristics of the plant could deface the landscape.

In addition, the court concluded that attention must be paid to the contemporaneity and perception of this type of system: aphotovoltaic systemit cannot always be seen as a nuisance, even if installed in restricted areas. A photovoltaic roof should inspiretechnological evolutionaimed at energy efficiency and not annoyance.

Talking about "contemporaneity“, Photovoltaic panels today are no longer perceived by the community as a visual disturbance but are recognized as an element of technological evolution. With these premises it will be much more difficult for the superintendency to justify the denial of theclearancefor the installation of photovoltaic modules in areas of particular value.

To date, the Veneto TAR ruling is just an example, there are many other successful appeals cases.

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