Italian subsidies for PV systems on agricultural land cancelled by ministers

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The Italian council of ministers has approved an amendment to the Quarto Conto Energia to cease the proviso of incentives for PV solar systems on agricultural land from 2013. However, the change will not apply to plants built within the next 12 months. The government is aiming to encourage and boost competition in the national economy, causing a boom in solar PV-related manufacturing. Previously, the law demanded a 1MW limitation to installations on the condition that less than 10% of the land was covered with panels.

Italian energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici SpA (GSE) announced that no new large-scale PV projects would be registered in the second half of 2012 because the budget for PV plants installed in 2011 had been greatly exceeded. The Jeffries’ report claims that due to Italian solar installations reaching its €6-7 billion target years ahead of schedule, this has made it likely that over the next 4 to 6 months the government will review and lower the FiT.

Projects not yet authorized will need to register before the new decree is published in the Italian official journal, expected to take place in the next few days, in order to qualify for the old subsidy.

Photon International reported that the suspension of the register will prevent over 5GW of PV projects from being registered this summer; however, there is a possibility that some of these projects may even profit from the one-year delay and registering in 2013 under the uncapped incentive program.

In turn, the Government has increased incentives for PV plants installed on greenhouses, by providing them the full tariff for rooftop PV plants instead of the currently applicable average between the tariffs for rooftop and ground-mounted facilities. Unlike the 2012 FiT, the 2013 amendment will already include the price for the sale of electricity roof installations costing €0.227kWh.

Following the publication of the decree, Parliament will have 60 days to approve and convert it into law, where it is possible for Parliament to introduce further amendments. The Jeffries report expects Parliament will correct the immediate abolition of article 10, paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the Renewables Decree, leading to a situation of an interim period with unrestricted access to incentives for all ground-mounted plants located on agricultural land that do not yet fall under the new rules.

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