Installed capacity in Italy is expected to reach 12.5GW by the end of the year, according to the chairman of the Italian Photovoltaic Industry Association (GIFI), Valerio Natalizia.
However, at the same news conference, Natalizia also revealed that the industry’s growth rate will slow down considerably next year, with new installations expected to total between 2.5 and 3GW. This figure is considerably smaller than the 3-3.5GW forecasted by GIFI only last month, although such a slow down is to be expected after the turbulent year experience by the Italian solar industry.
Natalizia blamed the drop off on restrictions to the farmland available for project development and the introduction of a registry system for large-scale plants. However, the government’s much-discussed feed-in tariff cut has also played a major role, not just in eroding potential profit margins among developers, but also confidence.
Despite the problems caused by May’s cuts, Rome is already making plans for more changes to the incentives scheme; today also saw GIFI reveal the framework for a new draft decree, which would bring the incentives paid to solar power producers in the southern Italy in line with those received by their northern counterparts.
It is likely that such a plan would mean lowering feed-in tariff in the south, a course of action that Claudio Andrea Gemme, the chairman of electrotechnics association ANIE, believes would be unfair on an industry crying out for stability. Uncertainty over possible tariff changes would make it difficult for investors and industrial operators to commit to project development and for banks to extend financing arrangements.
At present, though, the decree remains in draft form, and a decision on how to align the incentives and when they will be implemented is yet to be made.
Editor's note: We have all had a long week and initially the story was posted in MW not GW levels. Appologies and thanks to those that contacted us in kindness to tell us of the typo error.