A look at Italy’s latest Conto Energia

28. August 2012 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Sandra Enkhardt/Becky Beetz

Italy’s new guidelines for photovoltaic subsidies have been in place since Monday, August 27. While system operators will have to adapt to much lower tariffs and changing requirements, it is believed the new funding under the Conto Energia V will only last until the end of 1H 2013.

Italy solar photovoltaic plant

GIFI expects the subsidies under Conto Energia V to only last until the end of 1H 2013.

Italy’s energy authority, GSE released a 100 page document around 2 weeks ago detailing the new photovoltaic implementation rules under the new Conto Energia (renewable energy law), according to New Energy Projects.

Under the new law, a request for feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic plants must be made within 15 days after the plant’s commissioning, as before. However, there is now a mandatory register requirement for all plants over 12 kW in size. Enrolment has been running from August 20 and will continue until September 19. GSE said the rankings will be published no later than October 9. The ultimate criterion of the register is the date of commissioning.

As previously reported, photovoltaic systems up to 50 kW will be excluded from the register if they replace an asbestos roof, are integrated systems with innovative applications, that use concentrator technology, or are realized in the public sector, up to a maximum funding limit of €50 million.

All other plants must be entered into the register, which has €140 million available for the first half year, €120 million for the second half year, and €80 million for all subsequent registers, providing there is still enough funds in Italy’s solar incentive coffers.

Funding shortages

However, New Energy Projects says all photovoltaic systems, including those not listed in the register, will be deducted from the second register’s funding. Furthermore, there are hardly any funds for photovoltaic subsidies in the first half year register. After the official count by GSE today, €6.15 billion has already been paid out in subsidies, from a total of €6.7 billion.

Indeed, while the Conto Energia IV expired when the €6 billion funding limit was reached back in July, all plants that went online in the transition period and which were entitled to subsidies, have received funding under the budget allocated for the Conto Energia V – €700 million – at the tariff levels under Conto Energia IV.

A spokesman for GIFI, the Italian photovoltaic association told pv magazine that it expects the subsidies to only last until the end of 1H 2013. And as pv magazine reported on July 17, many have voiced fears over the speed at which the funds are being consumed.

Made in Europe bonus

With the Conto Energia V, new rules also apply for increased tariffs under the "Made in Europe" label, which dictate that all modules and inverters must now be fully manufactured in the EU or European Economic Area, if the bonus is to be obtained, according to TÜV Rheinland.

Meanwhile, in the future, operators of plants up to a MW in size will not receive revenues from electricity sales. Plants bigger than a MW will only receive the difference between their FIT and the current market price for electricity. 

Photovoltaic plant operators must further pay a registration fee to GSE when they enroll in the register. This amounts to €3/kWh for systems up to 20kW and €2/kW for all bigger systems, says New Energy Projects.

Furthermore, photovoltaic systems must be grid connected within 12 months after their initial publication in the register, otherwise their subsidy claim will be revoked.


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