Italy adds 2.3GW of solar PV in H1 2023, up 129% YoY

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Nearly half of all Italy’s solar installs in the first half of the year came from the residential market. Image: NextEnergy Capital.

Italy has installed more than 2.3GW of solar PV in the first half of the year, according to the latest figures from industry association Italia Solare.

With still six months to go, Italy has already installed nearly as much as the entirety of last year and 2010. The last time the country installed more than 3GW was more than a decade ago when it reached 3.6GW in 2012.

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During H1 2023, Italy increased its installed solar capacity by 129% compared to the same period the previous year.

Continuing the trend from last year, which in itself achieved solar installs not seen in a decade, 2023 is poised to end the year with Italy’s best solar installs since 2012, when it added more than 3.6GW of PV capacity.

After nearly a decade of less than 1GW of installed capacity, Italy has returned to numbers seen at the beginning of the 2010s, as the country recently updated its renewables targets by 2030 to reach 65% of electricity generation, with an aim to reach an installed capacity of 80GW from solar PV, up from 52GW in the 2019 national and energy climate plan (NECP).

The total installed solar capacity in Italy sits at 27.3GW at the end of June 2023, with nearly a third of it (32%) from projects with an output between 200kW and 1MW, and accounting for 8.6GW of the total. This is followed by projects with a capacity of less than 12kW – mostly residential solar – accounting for 6GW of total solar capacity installed so far, representing 22% of the total.

Nearly half of all the capacity added in H1 2023 (47%) came from residential solar with 1GW, according to Italia Solare, while large-scale solar projects of more than 10MW have resumed their installations in Q2 2023 – albeit to a limited capacity – as they were at a standstill since July 2022.

With utility-scale solar projects able to resume, projects of more than 10MW will increase in the coming years in Italy, among which a 250MW solar plant from renewables developer European Energy received a construction permit last May which the company dubbed as the largest in the country.

However, during the second quarter of 2023, residential solar was not the main driver for the increase of solar projects being connected to the grid, as commercial and industrial (C&I) along with utility-scale solar have increased by 49% and 89% respectively compared to the previous quarter.

The increase from the C&I segment during Q2 2023, compensated for the drop from the residential market due to the high prices of electricity, even though less than in 2022, said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of Italia Solare.

During the first six months of the year, the northern region of Lombardy installed the most solar capacity with 429MW, followed by Veneto (353MW) and Emilia-Romagna (235MW), while both Lombardy (3.5GW) and Veneto (2.8GW) have the most and third most installed capacity, the southern region of Apulia (3.2GW) remains second, despite only adding 118MW between January and June 2023.

Moreover, in that period the country held its 11th renewables auction which only awarded 200MW of solar PV, a decrease from the 262MW awarded in the previous auction held in September 2022.

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