The PV industry is eager to seize all the opportunities offered by the new technologies and by the new business models to face the important challenges of the next years.


On April 5, EF Solare Italia has sponsored a roundtable on “The new era of Italian PV: from incentives to decarbonisation” at the 2018 edition of the EnergyMed event, organized by the ANEA (Neapolitan Environment and Energy Agency).

The Italian energy industry, whose future has been delineated by the 2030 goals in the 2017 National Energy Strategy, is going through important changes. Those ambitious goals set the starting points of a sustainable future for energy: coal phase-out by 2025, a 28% quota of consumption from renewable sources. PV today is the second renewable source in the country and last year provided 7.8% of the national electric demand: it will thus play a leading role in the transition toward a new energy scenario. Digitalization, innovation, long-term PPAs, strengthening of the market are the main challenges that the industry will have to face in the next future, and that have been discussed in the event sponsored by EF Solare Italia.

The roundtable has been introduced by Attilio Punzo, Operational Monitoring and Data Management Director of GSE, who introduced some forecasts on the required evolution of the PV market in Italy to meet the 2017 National Energy Strategy goals and presented GSE’s developing projects: PV at 70, Major Power plants Performance, PPA, self-production, a primary role for the Public Administration in energy efficiency, solving the deals pertaining to smaller PV power plants, a Sustainability Chart.

The National Energy Strategy was also the leading topic in the opening of the roundtable, hosted by Agnese Cecchini, Director of the weekly trade magazine e7. The intervention of Andrea Zaghi, Director of Services and External Relations of Elettricità Futura, offered a clear analysis of the opportunities and challenges of the strategy.

The decarbonization process outlined in the National Energy Strategy is destined to gain momentum in the next years thanks to the further developments in renewable energies, which will allow us a significant reduction of our energy dependency from abroad. However, we need to quickly evaluate and define the tools to support the PV industry’s growth, which will be sustainable only in aimed at a future market parity”.

Paolo Rocco Viscontini of Envision Energy started with the experience of its great Chinese company to explain how digitalizing a PV plant can lead to a bettering of its performance: “Using new technologies regarding Big Data, along with a high level of know-how that allow the development of sophisticated algorithms, are the ground for the digitalization that’s about to land on the PV industry. The final result is a combination of advantages: more security in investing (thanks to a bigger knowledge of PV plant’s control and performances), reduced maintenance costs and more efficient PV plants”.

Digitalization and Power Purchase Agreement were also central in the intervention of Carlo Frezza, Sales Manager of EGO Power, who explained how the energy trading is favored by digital technology and how PPAs are developing on a long-term perspective.

Trading is founded on important software systems for monitoring power plants, for data analysis, risk control, predictive analysis. In Italy, we are reaching grid parity and investments in the PV market have restarted without incentives: this is the base on which we based our PPA. To make the market grow further is still necessary that those companies at the end of the production chain, which means the great energy consumers, must be ready to sign multi-years agreement”.

Sara Di Mario, COO of EF Solare Italia, explained the key role played by Operations & Maintenance in determining productivity and profitability of the PV plants, especially by seizing the opportunity offered by the digital transformation.

The PV market must complete the technological leap forward, which is already ongoing: the main target is to develop within a few years the predictive analysis, thanks to the digitalization process and big data management. It is necessary that the industry complete the digitalizazion process and that it renovates itself also in regard to finance and administration, so to reach the necessary maturity to play a relevant role in the decarbonisation process.”

Moroni & Partners is a technical advisory specialized in the optimization of PV plants. CEO Mauro Moroni closed the roundtable by offering a reflection on the importance of revamping and repowering existing PV plants:

Revamping is the great opportunity of the Italian market to keep the already built-up assets healthy and make them work at their best potential. To keep it simple, we can compare a PV plant to a human body: a regular check-up is important. It is better to do yearly exams (technical check-up) conducted by a good doctor (a qualified technician) and for specific issues is better to visit a specialist (independent technical consultants)”.

From the roundtable it has emerged a positive outlook of all the production chain of the PV industry, eager to seize all the opportunities offered by the new technologies and by the new business models to face adequately the important challenges of the next years.

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