Solar investors back Italy despite electricity price cap


A Swiss infrastructure investment fund planning to back 500MW of solar capacity in Italy has responded to concerns about an emergency measure recently introduced by the Italian government which will curb the returns of solar projects.

With Rome having stipulated solar energy tariffs be pegged to historical averages this year, rather than record-busting wholesale electricity prices, SUSI Partners has insisted the fundamentals of the solar market in Italy remain strong.

A spokesperson for the Zug-based investor told pv magazine: “We’re closely monitoring the possible consequences of the proposed decree and of Article 16 [of the legislation, which concerns renewables projects]. Notwithstanding the short-term exceptional increases in power prices, we remain positive on the long-term fundamentals of the Italian power market.”

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In this month’s edition, pv magazine takes a deep dive into the world of electromobility, with 22 pages of analysis taking in the market growth and expectations for electric vehicles (EVs) worldwide; how electricity networks will need to grow and adapt to make room for the electrification of transport; and the vital role for solar in all of this. We examine the growing trend for residential and commercial EV chargers linked to PV and optimized to make the most of solar kilowatt-hours, and take a look at some of the early movers working on vehicle-integrated PV – from solar sunroofs to full integration in vehicle bodywork. We also consider a range of e-mobility applications, from commercial trucks to family cars to electric bikes and other “last mile” delivery vehicles.

SUSI yesterday announced plans to back 500MW of solar plants in Italy, with the help of a local management team “from an experienced clean energy developer.” The company spokesperson said the management team could not be identified at the moment because of a confidentiality agreement but it may be revealed “in a couple of months.”

The press release issued yesterday by SUSI to announce the solar ambition stated: “While the Italian solar PV market experienced slower growth following the expiration of government incentives after 2013, a new expansion phase is expected throughout the 2020s, as the country gears up to meet 2030 emission reduction targets.”

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The company statement cited “rising carbon and gas prices supporting market electricity prices,” as one of the reasons attracting SUSI to Italy.

Article 16 of Italian Law Decree 04/22, published on Jan. 27, will restrict returns from solar plants for the rest of the year but only applies to plants commissioned under the previous Conto Energia incentives regime, and to unsubsidized facilities whose revenue is tied to electricity spot market prices.

The SUSI spokesperson told pv magazine it expects the 500MW of solar capacity to be operational between 2024 and 2026. SUSI did not reveal how much the solar investment would cost.

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