Italy: Utility-scale solar grows 373% in Q1 2024

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An Enfinity Global PV project under construction in Lazio, Italy. Image: Enfinity Global

The Italian solar sector installed over 1.7GW of solar PV capacity in Q1 2024, marking a significant increase compared with the same period in 2023.

The utility-scale sector saw the biggest increase, up over 373% from Q1 2023. 579MW of new utility-scale PV was deployed in the first three months of the year, compared with 123MW in the same period in 2023.

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This growth was driven by eight new projects, each over 10MW in size, coming online over the period, which added 281MW of capacity. The Italian solar trade association Italia Solare said that since October 2023, 622MW of these 10MW-plus projects have been connected, with connections occurring each month.

The residential sector also held strong with 547MW installed, a 4% increase on Q4 2023 when 525MW of new residential capacity came online. This is despite the end of the government’s “Superbonus” incentive for residential installations, which is expected to reduce the uptake of new systems in the long run.  

The corporate and industrial sector also increased dramatically, more than doubling from 289MW in Q1 2023 to 595MW in Q1 2024. Italia Solare said that this is largely due to the increase in the National Single Price (PUN) and higher energy cost generally in the second half of 2023, which drove installations in Q1 2024 due to the time taken for commissioning, construction and connection of the sites that began last year.

The impressive Q1 figures follow a similarly strong 2023, which saw the highest new capacity figures for large-scale solar in over a decade. Over 5.3GW of new capacity came online last year, compared with 2.4GW in 2022.

PV Tech Premium covered the re-emergence of Italy’s large-scale solar market earlier this year, where, amidst optimism about deployments, we heard about a number of issues still facing the sector.

Chief among them is grid capacity and grid application processes; whilst Italia Solare said the country has now installed around 32GW of PV, some estimates say that over 140GW of projects are currently in the interconnection queues waiting for grid access. Many of these projects only exist on paper and may not be commissioned in the short-term, but the wait times and oversubscription are still far in excess of current capacity.

Terna, the Italian grid operator, announced in March a US$18 billion investment plan to expand and modernise Italy’s grid by 2028, to address these issues.

The country is also in the process of passing a law banning the deployment of solar on agricultural land. At the the time of the proposal’s announcement, Italia Solare said that the passage of the law would cost the country €60 billion (US$64.5 billion).

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