Italy: Signing of new Conto Energia delayed by bickering

According to Jefferies & Co., the Italian Environment Minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, and Paolo Romani, Minister for Economic Development are at loggerheads over when the feed-in tariffs should be remunerated.

During a conference held yesterday, it was said that Romani would like to only introduce incentives once grid operator ENEL has certified the grid connection of a newly installed solar system.

Conversely, Jefferies says the Environment Ministry wants installed photovoltaic assets on the ground, which have been self-certified, to receive a locked in feed-in tariff rate while awaiting grid connection. This, it says, could take up to two months.

The F word

The Italian Council of Ministers will have the final word. Hopefully signalling the end of this already drawn out photovoltaics saga, they are expected to meet tomorrow, with a final outcome expected on Wednesday "at the latest".

The analysts at Jefferies believe most of the Conto Energia’s key points seem to be in place. In a statement, they say: "Most importantly, in our view, the definition of the uncapped small size market is currently pegged at 200 kW or lower. We note that small systems <200kW, historically equate to 44 percent of cumulative Italian installs.

"As it stands in the draft, the large scale market (>200 kW) could be capped at 1.35 GW in 2H11 and 1.75 GW in 2012. Once the Council signs off on the new Energy Bill, we believe Italy can still become three to four 4 GW solar market this year and grow to four to five GW in 2012."