An application seeking to transform a piece of Mġarr virgin land larger than six football pitches into a solar farm, is “using agriculture as an excuse” as no crops will grow in greenhouses underneath panels, farmers claim.
Farmers, environmentalists, and residents alike are opposing the project, filed by Joseph Schembri of Electrofix Group, for a solar farm made of 6,023 panels atop greenhouses in the Tar-Ragħad area. The site, measuring 43,303m², is made up of some 16 fields, according to the local council, which has also flagged concern over the project.
“The application for the solar farm was submitted under the agricultural guise of greenhouses. This is a lie and a farce from beginning to end,” full-time farmer Joe Muscat told Times of Malta. Muscat, who comes from a long line of farmers, specialises in tomatoes grown in greenhouses spread over 11 tumoli of land. In just one year his family produces 25,000 tomato plants.
“A greenhouse’s main aim is to create a microclimate with the help of the daylight outside of it, tricking the plant into producing crop. From our experience, nothing will grow in these shaded greenhouses,” Muscat added.