Italy’s 2050 decarbonization plan needs 6 GW of new PV capacity annually


Simplified authorizations for photovoltaic plants up to 10 MW on industrial land and an extension of the so-called Superbonus for rooftop PV linked to building renovations, to 2024, are the two options to have registered consensus among politicians and representatives of Italy's PV sector during the fifth edition of Forum Italia Solare, held by the homonymous solar energy association.

The forum, which took place last week, focused on how to reach Italy's 2030 and 2050 energy targets. According to a scenario outlined by the Italian research institute Ricerca Sistema Energetico (RSE), which is run by government energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), Italy would need 200 GW of PV installed capacity by 2050.

The average of newly installed capacity for solar and wind, however, has been around 1 GW per year in recent years. According to the panelists, the country would need 6 GW per year to achieve the 2030 targets stated in its PNIEC (Integrated National Plan for Energy and the Climate).

Salvatore Tomaselli, responsible for energy policies within the Democratic Party (PD), added that the PNIEC's already challenging 2030 targets “will be revised upwards in the coming months.” The MP from the Apulia region told pv magazine that it should be possible to find an agreement within the PD-Five Star Movement government coalition to speed up installations to reach the targets, “overcoming also those resistances from local communities or some sectors of the environmentalist world.”

Large scale deployment

“I think it is absolutely necessary to start an intense phase of installing new large photovoltaic plants in Italy, alongside the development of self-consumption and the so-called energy communities,” Tomaselli also stated.

Tomaselli made a case for a new industrial strategy at a national level which should include changes to avoid overlapping competencies among authorities. The initial focus of this regulatory streamlining should be on the repowering and revamping of existing plants.

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“At the same time, it is necessary to promote the implementation of guidelines for the development of solar parks also on abandoned agricultural areas, marginal or otherwise unsuitable for cultivation, as proposed by the agricultural organizations,” Tomaselli explained.

During the forum, Five Star Movement's Gianni Girotto agreed on simplifying the authorization process for small PV plants, especially in marginal areas. Large PV plants seem to remain a taboo for his political party.

2050 scenario

Maurizio Delfanti, CEO of Italian renewable energy company RSE, presented a simulation of the 2050 decarbonized energy scenario in which the photovoltaic sector will have to achieve an installed capacity of more than 200 GW. The data are even higher than a previous study by the Polytechnic University of Milan. Italy’s current installed capacity is just over 21 GW.

The figures suggest that Italy could achieve the nearly tenfold increase with an average of around 6 GW of new capacity a year for the next three decades.

“These are numbers that require a very clear and rapid choice to increase installed capacity,” Rocco Viscontini, president of Italia Solare, commented in the forum, suggesting to pay “particular attention to the role of network operators for what concerns the terms of their original mandate, in order to avoid situations of competition that prevent fair participation in the market.”

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