Italy’s new policy proposals for solar sector ‘a waste of money’, trade body says

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Under the proposals, grants will be provided to support the installation of self-consumption PV systems. Image: Falck Renewables via Twitter.

New measures from Italy’s government to accelerate and simplify renewables deployment have been largely criticised by the country’s solar industry.

A draft decree from the government unveiled on Friday includes new regulations for the development of solar PV in agricultural areas as well as a fund to assist small and medium-sized companies to install renewables.

Under the proposals, grants totalling €267 million (US$303 million) would be made available to support companies that add self-consumption PV plants with a capacity of up to 200kW.

Italia Solare has flagged concerns about the bureaucracy of implementing the scheme. “It would have been much better to grant a tax credit as we have been asking for a long time,” the trade body said.

While Italia Solare welcomed a policy to simplify the authorisation process for offshore renewables plants, the association said the proposals as a whole are “a waste of public money” and contain “no useful measures to seriously increase photovoltaic installations in Italy”.

The solar policies were announced as the government approved measures worth around €6 billion to combat high energy bills, which follows €1.7 billion energy package announced last month.

That package is partly financed by a measure that claws back the profits of some operational solar plants that recieve feed-in tariffs under Italy’s Conto Energia scheme that have also been able to benefit from rising electricity prices.

Applicable to PV projects with a capacity of more than 20kW, the policy is affecting as much as 13GW of solar assets in Italy, according to one estimate, and is set to remain in place until the end of the year.

A joint statement published earlier this month by a group of trade associations, including SolarPower Europe, warned that the “complex and discriminatory measures” will jeopardise Europe’s clean energy transition and have “huge impacts” on renewables investments.

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