Press Release 25.04.2016

Press Release Monday 25th April, 2016

Solar Farms: Front’s position presented to Parliament

Front Harsien ODZ presented its position on solar farms in the environment and development parliamentary committee meeting on 25th April. Front’s position states that:
1. Solar farms policy should be published after a review of Malta’s energy policy to ensure that other options on renewable energy (like near shore wind energy, solar panel roads) are also taken in to account.  An Strategic Environment Assessment should assess environmental impact of each option.  The impact on land use of each of these options should be assessed. While we support the development of solar energy as a renewable source, the impact on land use in a small densely populated country like Malta has to be assessed.
2. Solar farms in quarries should not serve as an excuse for other kind of developments like residential development, old people’s homes and industrial activities.  Quarries should preferably be restored as agricultural land.
3. Utilising existing  rooftops of existing buildings  is the most sustainable policy.  The government should introduce legislation with regards to solar rights to protect access to solar energy from neighbouring developments. Government should also extend previous schemes which assisted local councils in utilisation of renewable energy, and should introduce similar schemes for other public authorities and agencies. Government should introduce a clear policy which gives priority to renewable energy in private development (e.g. apartment blocks).
4. The draft policy refers to farm sheds and greenhouses as suitable for solar farms.  While this should not be excluded especially in the case of existing green houses, this development should not be a pretext for large scale development of green houses in areas where this is bound to have an impact on the landscape.
5. The draft policy excludes solar farms on “Fertile and tilled arable land”. Solar farms should be excluded on all agricultural land.
6. Development of solar farms should be considered  in  Areas of Containment (AoC’s), garage industry sites and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sites.


  1. 1. The solar farm policy itself is the result of an “underhand’ review of the existing Energy policy aspects of which had simply been left to wither on the vine by the previous government. So various items in pt. ! have already been ignored.
    2. First part makes sense; but second part,about restoring quarries to an ag land use is a non-sequitur. Pts. 1 and 2 are linked as the solar farm policy is an attempt to make up a RE quota which was thrown overboard when wind power was rejected as an RE source. Incidentally your mention of “near shore” suggests that you have dismissed on-shore wind. Any good reason for that?
    3. The utilising of rooftops is nearing “saturation” for two reasons: the actual occupation of a significant area of domestic rooftop and the lowering of feed-in tariffs which is making new installation less attractive. Perhaps more effective (if more draconian) is the imposition of a requirement for all new building to have PV panels. Note possible interaction between high prices of car fuels as determined by govt. tax and the possibility of keeping feed-in tariffs at a high level.
    4. A valid point but needs good enforcement if the development cart is not to be put before the RE horse.
    6. I think that that is taking place already. e.g. on the fringes of Attard, at the Freeport which has a real farm with 2MW energy, Mosta technopark and other places and UoM!. One item which has NOT been mentioned are the three covered reservoirs at Ta Qali, San Niklaws and Fiddien. Even a half coverage would yield a very substantial “farm”. Some exploitation of Ta Qali and Hal Far is possible; imposition on MIA which has much roof area but few PV panels would also be worthwhile.


  2. 1. You’re absolutely right, the whole thing was a charade. First they invite us to a meeting to discuss, then it turns out the document is already approved and can only be amended in minor ways.
    2. Also agree. From the meeting I got the impression that the only reason (or excuse) for this policy is that of meeting the 2020 deadlines. But I’m suspicious of the emphasis on greenhouses and quarries.
    3. I’m surprised that you claim rooftops are saturated – representatives from the solar energy sector gave different figures (1/3rd cover I believe, will look up)
    6. The policy, for reasons unknown to me, is limited to farms of 1000 sq m or more. Hal Far and AIM were mentioned in the original 72 submissions. In any case, it turns out they’ve probably miscalculated grossly and are not even accounting for the possibility that some owners might refuse, some farms may turn out to be unfeasible.. Apparently, they calculated we need x number of square miles to generate the required amount of MW, and are looking for precisely that amount of land and no more.


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