Europe’s second largest solar market has marked a subsidy-free boost this week, with two players joining forces to deploy a pipeline in a country where PV growth was muted for years.
On Friday, Italian IPP Solar Ventures and private equity house Zouk Capital unveiled a deal to develop a portfolio of unsubsidised solar, starting with an initial push of about 120MWp.
In a statement, the duo explained the projects they are both funding are in the “mid-development stage” and will not be supported by feed-in tariffs (FiTs) or any other form of government money.
Instead, Solar Ventures and Zouk Capital said, the PV portfolio will secure revenues by selling its output to commercial clients under private purchase agreements (PPAs).
Contacted by PV Tech, the firms declined to shed light on the location for the initial 120MWp, nor how the planned capacity will split across individual projects.
Approached today, the duo did not clarify either whether PPA talks have begun or concluded, adding they will share the information when “they are in a position to”.
Subsidy relaunch puts Italy back on clean energy map
In Italy, the signs of a solar revival have multiplied over the past few months, marking a brighter turn of events after years when deployment tanked as subsidies were withdrawn.
IRENA stats show the country’s industry initially surged – from 1.2GW in 2009 to 16.78GW in 2012 – but then froze in the 18GW-19GW region over the six following years after the phase-out of FiTs.
The reboot of government support has seen the Southern European enter the spotlight again, with renewables set to reap €5.4 billion (US$6 billion) in incentives from new auctions starting this year.
At a recent Italy-focused session in London, many local and foreign operators appeared skeptical about the value of subsidies, urging the government instead to support free-market solar.
The PPA boom witnessed in Southern neighbour Spain will be slower in coming to Italy, several speakers agreed at the debate, attended by PV Tech.
This week’s unsubsidised project is not Italy’s first, however. Last December, Octopus bagged a PPA for a zero-subsidy 63MW pipeline with energy trader offtaker EGO Group.
The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in Europe and beyond will take centre stage at Solar Media's Solar Finance & Investment Europe (London, 5-6 February) and Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).