Sungrow executive dampens hopes for imminent storage boom in Italy

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Sungrow is bracing for lower-than-expected battery installations in Italy this year, due to a lack of certainty around its capacity market. Javier Izcue, vice president SG Europe at Sungrow, told pv magazine that installations will mostly be led by tenders for now.

“Everybody is forecasting the boom to take place this year. From our perspective, we expect projects to take longer,” said Izcue during the recent Intersolar Europe event in Munich, adding that he sees 30 GW of battery capacity in Italy by the end of this decade.

Izcue said that half of Sungrow's revenue in Italy currently comes from the utility-scale market, while residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) installations account for the remainder. He noted that Sungrow sees many similarities between Italy and Spain, as both countries have “very demanding procedures.” This allows for similar commercial strategies.

The Chinese company, which previously focused solely on inverters, now offers a comprehensive package, with batteries playing a crucial role. This commercial decision aligns with the trend observed at Intersolar Europe, where leading Chinese players are also diversifying in a similar way.

“Electricity prices lead normally to a focus on energy shifting, but storage can also help the grid through frequency regulation for instance,” said Izcue.

Sungrow hopes that Italy avoids previous legislative mistakes, he added.

“The market expects that Italy will be more stable in terms of policies, but we hope that the past does not come back,” said Izcue. “In order to succeed with energy storage, we also need electrification to take speed.”

He said that despite their peculiarities, the Spanish and Italian markets both offer significant long-term opportunities.

“For the investors in storage, it is not just about capex, but opex are essential. Prices are important, but service agreement and the guarantees of the batteries are factors influencing the decision of the installers and investors,” said Izcue. “Knowledge is important for there storage market, now just for now, but also for its sustainability.”

Izcue said that investments in batteries in the two biggest Southern European markets are comparable. It is uncertain which country will be more attractive to investors.

“It will be a case-by-case issue. People investing in Spain are also considering investments in Italy,” said Izcue, adding that the two countries are among the top four in terms of potential, together with Germany and the United Kingdom.

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