While Italy has grown over recent years to become one of the most significant photovoltaic markets worldwide, that position is set to slip, according to new figures from IMS Research. The figures are based on "supply chain checks" performed by the analysts and they indicate that an increased rate of installations will consume much of the budget set aside for the fifth Conto Energia, before it officially begins.
700 million (US$849 million) of additional funding has been budgeted by the Italian government for the fifth Conto Energia. However, IMS Research has found that surging installations, being completed in the first half of 2012 to take advantage of more generous incentives, will consume much of the annual 6.7 billion (US$8.13 billion) budget by the time the fifth Conto Energia comes into effect in August.
Sam Wilkinson, Senior PV Analyst at IMS Research, summed it up: "Currently the official Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) statistics show 1.8 GW of installations and a cost of 6.1 billion. Once these figures catch up with reality, this will take the annual cost of incentives to around 6.4 billion, and will reduce the additional budget available for new Conto Energia V (five) installations to just 300 million (US$364 million)."
IMS Researchs analysis based on these figures reveals that the long-term outlook for the Italian market is "significantly reduced." The latest forecast predicts that 2013 will see less than three gigawatts (GW) installed in Italy. "Whilst Italy has consistently been one of the largest markets in the world, 2013 will see it fall outside the top-three markets for the first time in five years," added Wilkinson.
Wilkinson said that while he believed installations without subsidies will still continue in the countrys south, it will be insufficient to maintain the current market size.