Electricity Consumption: 313.433 GWh/Year
Electricity Import: 47.573 GWh/year
Percentage Renewable Energy: 13.7%
Percentage Photovoltaic: 6%
Installed Photovoltaic Output: 15 GW
Solar Irradiation: 1,100kWh/m² to 1,800kWh/m²
Italy, a prime travel destination for Germans due to its warm summers and numerous coasts, knows how to benefit from its high solar irradiation.
After Germany, it is the second largest producer of solar energy in Europe. Around 426,000 photovoltaic plants are installed in Italy, and more than 51,000 of these with capacity in excess of 20kWp.
Photovoltaic provides 6% of Italy’s power consumption, and constitutes 7% of all power generated in-country.
Policy and Feed-in Tariffs
The first law supporting photovoltaic in Italy came into effect in 2001. The “Tetti fotovoltaici” resulted in the construction of 22MW.
In 2005 the “Conto Energia” was adopted, in response to the success of the German Renewable Energy legislation.
In 2007 it was replaced by a second piece of legislation, the aptly named “Conto Energia II”. With feed-in tariff rates from 0.36 to 0.48 €/kWh, this policy resulted in the construction of over 6,600 MWs of solar plants.
The next significant developments took place in 2010 with the “Conto Energia III,” only to be replaced a few months later by a fourth Conto Energia.
The current law: Conto Energia V
Since the end of August 2012, the Conto Energia V has been the legal policy for the development and feed-in tariffs of renewable energies at large, and specifically photovoltaic.
Conto Energia V, following the trend of renewable energy policy in Germany, provides noticeably less support for photovoltaic as its predecessors. Especially small scale systems of under 20kWp benefit from the new formulation, and systems installed in conjunction with the renovation of asbestos roofs stand to gain a great deal. Ground based systems, however, no longer qualify for subsidies in Italy. The Italian government’s focus is clearly on boosting local consumption through small scale systems on existing rooftops.
In order to receive subsidies, owners must register their systems. The budget is divided up as follows:
– 50 Million € for communal projects, especially innovative ideas in PV
– 140 Million € until February for new plants, the bigger, the smaller the subsidy
– After February, 120 Million € over six months, afterwards biannually another 80 Million €
Grid Parity in Italy
In Italy grid parity for PV-power has been achieved. That is to say, the production of solar electricity is cheaper than its purchase from the grid. Several specialized companies buy and sell privately produced electricity.
Current prognoses do not predict major development of solar in Italy, at least not to the scale of what occurred between 2005 and 2010. Nevertheless, in light of the achieved grid parity, it is likely that photovoltaic will continue to be an important topic in Italy. Subsidies for rooftop systems remain profitable and continued development in this sector is to be expected. Businesses and private individuals in possession of large rooftops will doubtless begin thinking very seriously about whether and how a solar system could be implemented on their property.