Italy deployed around 737 MW of solar generation capacity last year, registering its best annual return for six years.
Provisional numbers released by Italian renewables association Anie Rinnovabili and data from grid operator Terna indicate most of last year’s capacity was installed in November and December, with 126.6 MW and 179.5 MW of new solar, respectively. Most of that, late-year new PV project capacity came in the shape of utility scale projects holding direct power supply agreements to clients without state subsidy.
Last year’s figure marked a near-69% increase on the 437 MW of solar added in 2018, with the figures for the previous three years having come in at 407 MW, 369 MW and 305 MW. Until last year, it was small scale solar rooftops which supplied the backbone of Italian PV, although there were signs of life in installations with more than 1 MW of generation capacity, with 60 MW and 46.9 MW of such projects added in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Terna’s figures show more than a third of last year’s new capacity – 257.9 MW – was supplied by projects bigger than 1 MW in scale.
The distribution of new solar also indicates a shift towards bigger projects. The industry has been led by commercial rooftop installations in wealthier northern regions such as Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna since 2012. However last year, land-rich southern region Apulia dominated, with 178 MW of new solar, followed by Sardinia (102 MW) and then Lombardy (89.1 MW), Veneto (80.7 MW) and Emilia-Romagna (57.4 MW).
Despite the changing shape of the Italian solar market, though, residential systems with a capacity of up to 20 kW continued to claim the largest slice of the cake – just – in 2019. Small arrays accounted for more than 35% of the market with 262.3 MW of new capacity added. Larger, 20-100 kW systems supplied 92.6 MW and commercial 100 kW-1 MW projects amounted to 124.6 MW.
The provisional figures indicate Italy reached 20.9 GW of solar capacity last year. The nation’s National Integrated Plan for Climate and Energy aims for 50 GW by 2030.
This article was amended on 21/04/20 to correct the opening statement that Italy added 737 GW of solar last year, to 737 MW.