To promote symbiosis of solar PV installation and the environment, and to alleviate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in agricultural codes and regulations, the Executive Yuan has assigned a special taskforce to coordinate the efforts across various central and local government agencies, in aim to streamline administrative review processes. To accelerate the review processes, The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has also put in place a mechanism of social and environmental auditing to identify and avoid ecologically sensitive areas for solar PV installation, and to ensure that solar PV can co-exist with the environment.
With concerns for farmland fragmentation, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has amended the Agricultural Development Act on July 7th 2020, limiting the applicability of solar PV installation on agricultural lands that are less than 2 hectares. This decision affects the available space for solar PV installation.
To meet public's expectation, MOEA has prioritized rooftop solar PV installation, and strategically raised the original target of 3 GW to 6 GW, which has since been adjusted to 8 GW early this year. Moreover, the taskforce has also instructed all government agencies and state-owned enterprises to conduct comprehensive surveys on potential sites for solar PV installation, mainly including rooftops of government buildings, school buildings, farm houses, and industrial factories. In terms of ground-mounted solar PV, the government has established the "added land-use values" as the guiding principle, and prioritized land areas with public consensus and no environmental and ecological concerns as the primary zones for ground-mounted solar PV installation. The primary areas for ground-mounted solar PV mainly include lands unsuitable for agricultural production, such as: unfavorable farm lands, polluted sites and waste landfill; as well as sites suitable for compound land uses, such as: aquaculture ponds, detention basin, drainage system, parking lots, and school outdoor fields.
Moreover, the integration of Solar PV technology with aquaculture facilities--generally termed as Fishery and Electricity Symbiosis--has been a priority project of the government. Based on the interagency collaboration efforts of surveying the locations of aquaculture ponds with little ecological concerns, MOEA has further examined the possible ecological, historical, and social issues of these areas, and removed environmental sensitive areas. The remaining areas are designated as the special zones for the Fishery and Electricity Symbiosis project. As of 2020, the project has already designated a total area of 4,702 hectares in the first phase, and plans to announce another 4,080 hectares this year. To ensure safety and prevent environmental issues, MOEA introduces a code of practice on matters related to the Coastal Zone Management Act. To safeguard fishermen rights and fish farming environment, MOEA also provides a template contract as reference.
Aside from these efforts, to achieve the renewable energy targets, the government has established several interagency negotiation mechanisms, which include: (1) the Executive Yuan's special taskforce; (2) the trilateral communication channel among Deputy Ministers from MOEA, COA, and Ministry of The Interior, aimed to remove bureaucratic barriers; and (3) working groups established with local government agencies to speed up the usually lengthy review processes. Through these efforts, the newly installed capacity of solar PV in the first half of 2021 has reached 806 MW, which is an 115% increase compared to last year. As of June 2021, the total installed capacity has reached 6.62 GW, which is 5.3 times of the 1.25 GW in 2016.
While the original plan has been hindered by the pandemic, changes in overall social environment, and regulatory changes, the government has developed a new and effective model through the above-mentioned efforts to reach the target of 20 GW of installed solar PV by 2025.
Spokesperson for Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs: Deputy Director-General, Chun-Li Lee
Business Contact: Director, Wen-Hsin Lin