Italy tops 20 GW of solar

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Italy deployed around 436.5 MW of new PV systems last year, according to provisional numbers released by Italian renewable energy association Anie Rinnovabili and based on data provided from grid operator Terna.

Last year’s performance represented 7% growth on 2017, when new additions came in at 409 MW, and took Italy’s cumulative installed PV capacity to 20,084 MW. In 2016 and 2015, new capacity tallied 369 MW and 305 MW, respectively.

For four years, the Italian PV market was mainly driven by solar rooftops although the number of projects with more than 1 MW of generation capacity has shown signs of life in 2017 and 2018, with 60 MW and 46.9 MW of new solar parks, respectively.

The 389.6 MW balance deployed last year was represented by rooftops with a capacity of up to 1 MW, with residential systems not exceeding 20 kW having the largest share – approximately 218.8 MW – followed by arrays with a power range of 20-100 kW supplying a total capacity of 75.8 MW.

Look north

The regions with the largest volumes of development are, as usual, the most industrialized areas in northern Italy – Lombardy, with 74.2 MW of new solar, Veneto (59.8 MW), Emilia-Romagna (47 MW) and Piedmont (38 MW). In 2017, the area with the largest share was the central region of Lazio, as it hosted a series of unsubsidized large-scale projects near Montalto di Castro.

The sustained growth of residential, commercial and industrial rooftop solar under net metering, according to Anie Rinnovabili, must be attributed to sustainable building fiscal incentives for homeowners and super-amortization of investment goods for businesses. The latter is a measure that facilitates business investment by allowing extra amortization on the purchase of certain assets.

According to Italian grid operator Terna, PV systems connected to its network generated 22,887 GWh last year – around 4.7% less than in 2017. PV met around 7.1% of Italian power demand last year. Most demand was covered by thermoelectric power plants that, despite a year-on-year, 7.6% drop in electricity generation, accounted for 57.4% of consumption as the nation’s power demand rose 0.4%, from 320,548 GWh in 2017 to 321,910 GWh.

The Italian government is aiming for more solar through a decree that is being reviewed by the European Commission and that, if approved, would enable the realization of the first auctions for large-scale renewables.

Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development in December recently issued a new National Integrated Plan for Climate and Energy 2030, which is targeting cumulative installed PV capacity of some 50 GW by 2030.