Sat, Apr 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Most solar plants on farms on fertile ground: officials

Staff writer, with CNA

The majority of solar power plants built on farms since 2013 are likely on fertile farmland, in contravention of government regulations, the Council of Agriculture said.

It said 2,018 solar power plants have been erected on farmland since 2013, when the government gave permission for them to be built, but only 110 facilities are in compliance with the regulations regarding location.

According to the regulations, solar power plants on farms can be built only on land deemed unsuitable for growing crops, such as coastal areas with a high degree of salinity or land that is subject to subsidence.

Council of Agriculture officials said the problem might have been caused because the regulations on establishing solar power plants on farms fall under two separate government agencies.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs handles applications to build such plants, while the council is responsible for the management of farmland, the officials said, adding that it would be helpful if the council could have prompt access to the ministry’s data.

According to a report in the Chinese-language United Evening News on Wednesday, the alleged misuse of fertile farmland has come to the attention of the Control Yuan.

The report said two Control Yuan members were planning to visit certain counties and cities to check whether fertile land is being used for solar power plants.

According to the ministry, 741 of the 2,018 solar power plants built on farmland since 2013 are in Yunlin County, 432 in Changhua County, 312 in Chiayi County and 309 in Tainan.

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