Italy will unveil new solar incentives plan in April

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New information in a Reuters report outlines Italy’s plans to unveil a new incentive scheme for the country’s solar power market. Full details of the latest development in Italy’s solar sector will be announced in April after a regional vote. According to a senior government official, the scheme is expected to be one of the most generous in Europe.

Details of the plan have been delayed since the beginning of this year, raising investor concerns about strategies for Italy and added unpredictability to shares in Italian solar firms such as TerniEnergia and ErgyCap.

Italian industry ministry undersecretary Stefano Saglia has said that his ministry and experts from the Environment and Culture Ministries have now agreed technical details of the new incentive plan. However, the plan is still awaiting approval from the state body which oversees relations between central government and regions and whose meeting had not been called for a couple of months in the run-up to regional elections, due on March 28-29.

“I hope that the conference will be called immediately after elections…as soon as April,” said Saglia.

Saglia made it clear that Italy’s new incentives would remain “the most generous in Europe” yet the planned 5-6% cut in support for the solar energy sector would still go ahead “in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with bigger cuts for large-scale projects.” The incentive cut level is expected to be “slightly below the reduction in solar panel costs,” yet the minister declined to give more details.

Some region’s authorities and farmers lobbies, who face losing solar incentives, have opposed development of large-scale solar projects, he said.

The existing Italian feed-in tariff scheme is due to expire at the end of 2010 after the capacity covered by the incentives hits a 1,200MW cap. Under the draft plan, new installed solar capacity will be capped at 3,000MW over a period of three years with an expectation of reaching 8,000MW of installed solar capacity in 2020.

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