Italy set to reach 20 GW milestone

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Italy has seen the deployment of around 259 MW of new PV systems in the period from January to August 2018, according to provisional numbers released by the Italian renewable energy association, Anie Rinnovabili, which are based on data provided by the country’s grid operator, Terna.

Compared to the same period of 2017, in which 291 MW were installed in the country, this year’s result represents an 11% drop. It is slightly up, however, when compared to the same period of 2016, where 256 MW were registered. The improved performance in 2017 was determined by the grid-connection of several “unsubsidized” solar parks in central Italy; this year to date, not a single large-scale facility has been energized in the country.

Despite this, given the current monthly growth of around 30 MW, and the fact cumulative installed PV capacity at the end of 2017 was 19,682 MW, according to a recent report from Italy’s government-run energy agency, GSE, the southern European country will very likely reach the 20 GW milestone by the end of this year.

According to Anie’s numbers, residential installations not exceeding 20 kW in size still dominate the Italian solar energy landscape, with around 141 MW of newly installed capacity registered. PV systems with a power range of 20 kW to 10 KW totaled 48.7 MW. Meanwhile, just 10 MW of PV projects over 1 MW were finalized between January and August.

Italian grid operator Terna has reported that solar produced 6.6% less electricity in the first eight months of this year has, compared to the same period in 2017. This year’s 17,097 GWh, however, were able to cover around 8.5% of total demand and saw solar become the country’s third largest energy source. Thermal power still remains the largest source of power at more than 50% of total demand so far this year, or with 118.353 GWh, followed by hydropower, with 34,967 GWh.

Despite the fact solar growth has remained limited, at between 300 MW and 400 MW, over the past few years, the Italian goverment is currently definining a new package of measures, which is expected to spur further growth and relaunch the large-scale sector. The first mixed auction for big solar parks and wind farms could be launched in late January.