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Many rooftop solar power projects camouflage as farms in Central Highlands

To energize before December 31, 2020, to enjoy preferential prices, many enterprises in the Central Highlands had sought every way to speed up the construction of rooftop solar power projects, despite violations in land use, construction, 

 and farm economic model.

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Most of ranches and high-tech agricultural farms combined with rooftop solar power trading in Buon Don District in Dak Lak Province do not have agricultural production activities. (Photo: SGGP)

Rooftop solar power projects built on agricultural land

The survey conducted at many ranches and high-tech agricultural farms combined with rooftop solar power trading in Buon Don District in Dak Lak Province shows that most of them do not have agricultural production activities. For example, in Ea Wer Commune, among 12 farms combined with rooftop solar power trading, nine farms have not had any agricultural production activities. Many farms registered to grow mushrooms, but there were only a few dried bags of mushrooms hanging inside as cover.

Moreover, many solar power projects of units, namely Anh Duong Technology Joint Stock Company, Hoang Minh Electricity Company, and Dak Lak Power Development Company, were built on agricultural land that has not changed the land-use purposes. Vice-Chairman of the People's Committee of Buon Don District Le Van Nuoi admitted that the locality had had shortcomings in management, resulting in many farms with rooftop solar power systems having violations in land use and construction. The district People's Committee inspected and reported to provincial leaders for directions to resolve and handle these violations.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dak Lak Province, 363 units registered to build farms with rooftop solar power systems. Of which, 193 farms have connected to the power system, and the rest have agreed to connect with Dak Lak Power Company. Many farms have not fully completed legal procedures. For example, there are 29 farms in Buon Don District, but 21 farms only have the policy of the district People's Committee for changing the land-use purposes. Similarly, there are 20 farms with rooftop solar power systems that are connected and have connection agreements in Cu Kuin District of Dak Lak Province. However, only four projects are confirmed as farms, one does not meet the criteria, and 15 are farms built on agricultural land that have not converted the land-use purposes.

Violations in rooftop solar power projects also occur in Gia Lai Province. Specifically, there are 3,248 rooftop solar power systems in the province. Recently, the inspection team of Gia Lai Province has inspected 441 out of 3,248 rooftop solar power systems and discovered that 427 systems have quality management records that have not yet met the regulations of the Construction Law.

Besides, nine out of 431 agricultural farms have not converted the land-use purposes. Especially, the authorities also uncovered 302 out of 431 projects that have not implemented the farm economic model yet. The inspection team detected that although some projects did not provide enough construction documents, construction procedures did not comply with the provisions of the law on construction and did not ensure fire prevention, they were still approved and energized by Gia Lai Electricity Company.

Reviewing and handling violations

Talking about the fact that rooftop solar power farms have many violations but are still connected to the power grid, Deputy Director of Dak Lak Electricity Ha Van Chuong said that local departments and agencies are responsible for managing and inspecting solar power projects. “The company is responsible for calculating whether the power grid can release the solar power capacity of customers or not. If the grid system still can release, the company will agree to connect. As for the fields of land use and agricultural production, the company does not have the authority to inspect," said Mr. Chuong.

Director of Dak Lak Department of Industry and Trade Luu Van Khoi admitted that there were still loopholes in management, leading to the rapid development of rooftop solar power in the area. “Currently, the department has reported and proposed to the People's Committee of Dak Lak Province to direct relevant departments and agencies and the People's Committees of districts, towns, and cities to focus on inspecting, reviewing, and implementing the development of rooftop solar power following regulations. If they are ineligible or fail to carry out the prescribed procedures, they will be strictly handled according to the provisions of the law," Mr. Khoi added.

Regarding the above issue, in a recent report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the People's Committee of Dak Lak Province proposed the ministry to consider and allow farm owners and investors who installed solar power systems on the roofs of farms and constructions that have been built and sold electricity before December 31, 2020, but have not met the criteria of a farm, to redress their shortcomings in the near future. In Gia Lai Province, the provincial Department of Industry and Trade proposed the provincial People's Committee to assign departments and the People's Committees of districts, towns, and cities to monitor and handle violations related to the fields of land use, agricultural farms, construction, and rooftop solar power system.

Specifically, for problems related to agricultural farms, the department proposed to the provincial People's Committee to allow the owners of agricultural farms to review and complete the farm economic model plan, and at the same time, commit to implementing the project according to the registered schedule, assign the People's Committees of districts and towns to monitor and supervise the implementation of the farm model, and entrust the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and localities to strictly handle violations.

Source: SGGP

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