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Solar farms not covered by land conversion ban

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 25, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The proposed two-year moratorium on land conversion on farm areas would not be a problem for solar power plants since these power facilities can still accommodate agriculture products planted beneath the panels, a solar advocate said yesterday.

While solar plants need expanse land, solar farms have idle land beneath the solar panel installations which could still be utilized for farming, Solar Philippines founder and president Leandro Leviste said during the Global Investment Forum yesterday.

“Many industries are dependent on ease of converting agriculture land…however I believe solar is adaptable to either scenario,” he said.

“Systems in places like Japan, where land is likewise scarce, they’re planting solar panels on top of crops like kamote,” Leviste said.

In September, President Duterte approved the proposal of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to impose a two-year moratorium on land conversion which disallows the use of agricultural lands for non-agricultural uses.

With such order, Solar Philippines is willing to re-use the land used in its solar power plants for agriculture uses, Leviste said.

“Eventually, if solar is going to take out tens of thousands of land in Luzon, it’s something we can integrate into our projects as well,” he said.

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