Italian solar market expected to grow by another 1.5 GW by 2020

Italy’s government-owned energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), which manages all the five Conto Energia incentive schemes for PV, is expecting that a further 1.5 GW of new PV installations will see the light by 2020. The announcement was given on the occasion of the presentation of the fairs Key Storage e Key Solar, which will take place in Rimini, northern Italy, in November.

Gianni Silvestrini, which is the director of the scientific committee of both events and of non-profit Italian organisation Kyoto Club, said at the meeting that the country’s solar sector is currently offering good business opportunities such as, among others, the revamping and repowering of existing PV installations.

Silvestrini added that Solar-plus-storage solutions could also offer good opportunities, if the government would remove some hurdles that are preventing this segment from further flourishing. Silvestrini, however, believes that storage projects will attract interest in Italy this year. According to IEG, which is the organizer of both fairs, approximately €150 million will be invested in Italy in the storage segment by 2025.

Meanwhile, the local renewable energy association Anie Rinnovabili has published a white paper on the development of electrochemical storage solutions in Italy. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Enel Produzione, Enel Green Power and the Polytechnic University of Milan, provides insight on the existing business opportunities for electrochemical storage systems in the local electricity market.

According to the report, electrochemical batteries will offer the chance to better manage network settings in a power system that is seeing an increasing share of prosumers. Furthermore, the study reveals that the gap between the costs for installing a storage system and the investment returns is decreasing. Under the current market mechanisms, however, investments in storage still don’t seem sustainable, in particular for big systems that have to be integrated in industrial or photovoltaic projects, the study concludes.

If the 1.5 GW of new solar announced by the GSE is to be achieved, this result would confirm the growth trend registered in Italy over the past three years. In 2016, around 369 MW of new PV systems were registered in the country, while in the previous two years more than 300 MW annually was installed. Italy had reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of approximately 19.2 GW as of the end of 2016.