Italy installed 105 MW of solar in Q1 2019

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Italy reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of approximately 20.2 GW at the end of March, according to provisional numbers released by Italian renewable energy association Anie Rinnovabili and data provided by grid operator Terna.

In the first three months of this year, new PV additions totaled around 105 MW, up slightly from 89 MW in the same period last year and 84 MW in the first quarter of 2017. March was the month with the highest growth, at 39.0 MW, followed by January and February with 33.8 MW and 32.5 MW, respectively. This growth trend reflects the pace of expansion over the last four years, in which the average monthly increase was about 30 MW. The Italian PV market is also still dominated by rooftop solar deployment.

According to the latest statistics, PV projects that do not exceed 1 MW in size represent almost all of the newly deployed capacity, at 102.1 MW. Solar parks over 1 MW only accounted for 2.9 MW of the total.

Residential PV systems up to 20 kW in size still account for the largest share, with around 62.1 MW of capacity. PV systems ranging from 20 kW to 100 kW account for 20.8 MW of the quarterly total. Meanwhile, installations of commercial and industrial PV systems ranging from 100 kW to 1 MW reached 19.5 MW in the first three months of the year.

The regions with the highest development volumes are, as usual, the most industrialized areas in northern Italy. The Lombardy region brought 19.1 MW of new solar online, while the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions finished the quarter with 14.5 MW and 10.6 MW, respectively.

More growth expected from PPAs and auctions

Even though new operational large-scale solar capacity has barely been deployed since March 2017 — when a bunch of so-called unsubsidized projects were connected to the grid in Montalto di Castro, central Italy — several large-scale projects linked to bilateral PPAs may reach completion this year. Those installations could bring more capacity online than the total registered in recent years.

Italy may also soon hold its first mixed auction for big solar parks and wind farms. However, the European Commission still needs to approve a decree regulating the procurement program, even though it was submitted for review by the Italian government last year. Apparently, approval of the scheme has been delayed due to issues related to the provision of hydropower, but it now appears likely that the decree will be approved at some point soon.

Italy’s National Integrated Plan for Climate and Energy aims for cumulative PV installations of 50 GW by 2030.