Photovoltaic and landscape constraint

Photovoltaic and landscape constraint

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Photovoltaic and landscape constraint: when permits are required to install the photovoltaic roof and when it is not necessary to contact the Superintendency.

In case ofinstallation of a photovoltaic system on the roofthe Municipality and the Superintendency CANNOT apply generic landscape restrictions. In addition, even in the case oflandscape constraint, the opinion of the Superintendency is not always necessary.

This is what established a ruling by the Piedmont TAR which opened the doors to a more widespread installation of photovoltaic systems even in "high landscape value" areas, not necessarily requiring permission from the Superintendency.

The sentence dates back to 10 December 2014 (sentence no. 1946). In this case, the Piedmont TAR accepted the appeal lodged by a company asking for the cancellation of a note from the municipal technical office. The note required (with reference to the Communiation of commencement of works relating to the installation of a photovoltaic system adhering to the roof) the prior acquisition of the opinion ofSuperintendency.

ThereSuperintendency, to grant the permit, he had "imposed" on the company the adoption of systems positioned along the eaves of the roof and that the same systems were equipped with an anti-reflective film of the same color as the roof covering.

The Piedmont Tar has established that in the specific case of the company, the user could install a solar system even without the permission of the superintendent, proceeding with the simple communication of the start of work.

Of course, this does not mean that those who want to install a photovoltaic roof in an area covered by a landscape constraint should not seek the opinion of the Superintendency. This ruling, however, opens the door to easier appeals and a simpler acquisition of permits.

According to the Piedmont Regional Administrative Court, it is always necessary to carry out a case-by-case check and that only under certain conditions is the opinion of the Superintendence necessary.

Generally, municipal administrations "pass the ball" to the Superintendency by appealing to Article 7, paragraph 1 of Legislative Decree no. 28/2011. According to the TAR, this article explicitly refers to thermal solar panels and not to photovoltaics. In this case, the installation of a photovoltaic system is regulated by Article 11 of Legislative Decree no. 115/2008.

It is easier to bypass the authorization from the Superintendency in the case of a photovoltaic system integrated into the roof of the building. The system should maintain the same inclination and the same orientation of the pitch without changing the shape of the building. Taking advantage of regulatory quirks, the Piedmont Regional Administrative Court stated that in that specific case the communication of the start of work made to the technical office of residence was sufficient, without any requirement to acquire the opinion of the Superintendency. As the Piedmont Tar has shown us, even in the case of landscape constraint, the permission of the Superintendency is not always necessary.

Photovoltaic and landscape constraint

The sentence of the Piedmont TAR does not cancel landscape protection in any condition but did not always make it necessary for small photovoltaic systems.

The installation of solar thermal or photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings located in restricted areas, as a rule, requires permission and the opinion of the Superintendency which establishes the restrictions. Currently, at the center of the matter is the Ministerial Decree of 19 May 2015 which introduced the single model for the construction and connection to the electricity grid of photovoltaic systems.

The Ministerial Decree of 19 May 2015 also contains critical issues that allow bypassing the opinion of the superintendent, in particular with Article 4, paragraph 3, according to which: "the installation of photovoltaic systems on buildings not falling within those referred to in Article 136, paragraph 1, letters b) and c), of the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape (Legislative Decree 42/2004), is not subject to the acquisition of administrative acts of consent, however named, including thelandscape authorization”.

The minor interventions that can access the simplified landscape authorization procedure also include the installation of solar, solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, if the installation area is less than 25 square meters. This specification can be applied in homogeneous territorial areas of category A (in practice, ihistorical centres) and in restricted areas pursuant to Article 136, paragraph 1, letters b and c (areas with landscape restrictions).

A more precise reading could state that the exemption applies only to permits on the building side and not on the landscape front where the so-called clearance is required. For more information:clearance for photovoltaics.

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