London-based private-equity group Amplio has commissioned 7MW of PV capacity in the Italian region of Lazio, just outside of Rome. The company secured €16m from an Italian bank for the project – details for which are yet to be disclosed.
Amplio now owns 20MW of ground-mounted Italian solar plants, across Sicily, Puglia and Abruzzo as well as Lazia, and a further 10MW of rooftop schemes with a total investment to date of about €120m. However, like many Italian solar developers, the company is now focusing its efforts on projects that are smaller than 1MW, due to recent changes in FiTs for plants built on agricultural land. Smaller installations do not require permission from the Italian energy agency GSE to register for the country's feed-in tariff incentives.
Alberto Dalla Rosa, chief executive of Amplio Solar told BusinessGreen, “The uncontrolled growth that the market saw in 2010 means that the government had to cut the subsidies, but it won't kill off the market. It will shrink but it will continue to stay on track to achieve its target of 20GW by 2020, although most of the projects will be sub-megawatt rooftops,” Dalla Rosa said that the company abandoned its plans to expand into the UK market, after the government slashed feed-in tariffs for large solar schemes over 50kW last March.
“We had planned to focus in the UK market on large sites up to 5MW but the government decided to change the tariff just after it was launched and concentrate more on residential schemes, so we decided not to proceed with those licences,” Dalla Rosa explained.
Amplio aims to build another 30MW of rooftop systems throughout Sicily in 2012, with financing easier to obtain for smaller projects.