Solar PV power output in Italy hits unprecedented high

According to a recently published report by TERNA, Italy’s electricity grid operator, solar PV systems in Italy in the period generated 13,810 GWh of electricity, an almost 20% increase compared to the same period last year.

TERNA’s latest statistics on the country’s energy production and consumption cover the first part of 2013 ending July 31.

In July alone, Italy produced a record 2,957 GWh of energy from photovoltaics, the highest monthly solar PV output in the country ever. In comparison, in July 2012, solar photovoltaics provided 2,421 GWh of electricity in Italy, 22.1% less than this year.

More importantly, solar PV power production in the first seven months of 2013 increased its share in the country’s energy mix, providing 7.3% of the total electricity demand. In 2012, Terna reported a 5.6 % share of the total electricity demand produced by solar PV.

Solar PV also remains the most widespread type of renewable energy in Italy after hydropower. Hydro, wind and geothermal power produced 32,922 GWh, 9,666 GWh and 3,061 GWh, respectively, during the period.

Despite the apparent boom, many in the solar industry fear that further development of the sector could be halted after Italy decided to cease FIT payments from July 6 onwards.

Although all types of renewable energy increased their contribution to Italy’s power supply significantly, conventional power production fell. According to the TERNA report, conventional power stations in the first seven months of 2013 generated 104,668 GWh of electricity, a 15.7% reduction compared to the same period last year.

By contrast, renewable energies in the same period produced 59,459 GWh of power. A smaller amount of energy demand was also imported by neighboring countries, TERNA said.