North Rhine-Westphalia is extending the funding options for photovoltaics to open spaces. In the future, certain areas in the most populous federal state that are not very productive for agriculture can also be used for the installation of solar systems, as the state government announced on Friday, August 26th. There is still some catching up to do in NRW, said Düsseldorf Economics Minister Mona Neubaur (Greens).
The state government uses an opening clause in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) that enables the federal states to expand the funding options for photovoltaics in so-called "disadvantaged areas". High-quality arable land, on the other hand, is primarily reserved for agriculture in view of the security of food supply. And protected areas for the preservation of endangered or typical habitats and species are also excluded.
According to the state government, systems with a maximum installed capacity of 300 megawatts can be subsidized per calendar year in the newly added open spaces for the use of solar energy. This corresponds to an area of up to 400 hectares per year.
The area of disadvantaged areas in North Rhine-Westphalia covers a good 136,000 hectares of arable land and 175,000 hectares of grassland. A total of around 1.5 million hectares are used for agriculture in North Rhine-Westphalia. Almost 420,000 hectares are grassland.