Key takeaways from Italy’s K.EY Energy trade show

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Italy's leading solar event, K.EY Energy, has finally forged its own identity as the country's main event for solar and renewables. For years confined within the context of a broader event, the Ecomondo trade show for the green economy, the K.EY Energy fair is now living a life of its own. It can no longer be seen as a small, regional event.

The fair, held in Rimini last week, involved around 600 companies, of which 28% were from other countries, according to the organizer, the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG). With 12 pavilions, the fair has doubled its size, as well as the number of visitors, IEG said, without providing specific figures. However, a comparison with previous years is not possible because the event was still part of the Ecomondo show.

“It seems we went back to the times of the old Solarexpo,” Alberto Cuter,  general manager at JinkoSolar, told pv magazine, in reference to a successful solar event that was held in Italy during the early stages of the nation's solar industry.

Andrea Brumgnach, vice president of the Italia Solare PV association, says the success of the event reflects the strong growth that the country saw in terms of volumes and deals between last year and the first months of 2023.

“We are seeing an atmosphere of revival of the solar sector at this event,” he said. “It has now an unprecedented national and international relevance and we waited years for this to happen.”

Brumgnach said Italy may install between 3 GW and 4 GW of new PV capacity in 2023, after hitting a remarkable 2.48 GW last year.

“Much will depend on the new technical rules that will have to be issued in the next months,” he added. “It is important, however, that we will be able to install between 7 GW and 8 GW per year if we want to reach the goals of Italy's energy strategy by 2030.”

Alberto Pinori – the president of ANIE Rinnovabili, an Italian renewable energy association – was also satisfied with the outcome of K.EY Energy.

“The event is finally gaining authority and filling a gap,” he stated. “We see all the supply chain here. There are installers, developers and manufacturers and we also saw many interesting conferences.”

He said the fair mirrors the current growth of the Italian renewable energy market.

“The large-scale solar segment is now gaining importance compared to the previous years,” he said, noting how all industry bodies are now joining forces more frequently to urge the government to simplify and streamline permitting processes.

The show attracted most major Chinese solar module makers, as well as the largest European and Asian inverter manufacturers. The presence of several Italian module manufacturers – including Sunerg, Trienergia, and FuturaSun – also indicated that demand for solar products made in Europe could soon reach new heights, thanks to the REPower EU initiative.

All in all, the K.EY Energy trade show has fostered optimism in the Italian PV industry.

“We have now good reasons to be optimists, but we should avoid frenzy and keep vigilant on all future developments about legislation,” said Brumgnach.

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