We are convinced that acting together, in synergy with territories and institutions, is the only possible way to bring renewables to be the main source of energy supply and so contribute to an increasingly sustainable restart.


In this year, we’ve shared with you some aspects of our work and introduced you to solar professionals. As the last story of the year (we’ll be back on time in January with a story every month) we want to share with you, through the words of our CEO Andrea Ghiselli, who spoke at the Italia Solare Forum in early December, why solar energy is so important in the country’s economy and what steps still need to be taken to allow this source to provide the expected contribution to the achievement of decarbonization goals.

In the past years Italy has represented a positive context to attract investments in the photovoltaic sector: important incentives, good liquidity of the capital market, favorable structural conditions due to the morphological composition of our territory (the level of irradiation) and subsequent opportunities for market consolidation. These characteristics have also been confirmed by the results: Italy with about 21 GW, is currently the second country in Europe for installed photovoltaic capacity.

However, the Land of the Sun has experienced a change of scenario in the last few years: support for photovoltaic production and development opportunities have been significantly reduced, especially for the utility scale segment. Restrictions on the use of agricultural lands and authorization timelines have made this market less attractive. At the same time, the inorganic growth of operators, through acquisitions of plants in service, also slowed down due to the increase in the prices of the portfolios for sale and the intrinsic greater risk given by various elements such as, for example, the greater age of the assets.

Investors are therefore encountering a ground that is not very favorable to the use of new capital. However, the national growth targets for photovoltaics by 2030 are ambitious: to triple the production of electricity from solar source. How do investors react?

The decrease of opportunities for the development of new installations, shifts the attention to the chances to improve the performance of existing plants through revamping and repowering activities. In particular, actions of modernization and enhancement that use materials structurally more performing with decreasing unit costs (e.g. double-sided modules, trackers…) applying new diagnostic and maintenance solutions (drones, thermography, electroluminescence …). These actions, and in particular the repowering, enable very significant impacts: theoretically it is possible to double the installed power capacity of utility scale PV plants.

Another chance for investors is to invest in new markets with a growth view , as EF Solare did through the acquisition of the Spanish operator Renovalia. This strategy supports another strategy that is related to new technologies that enable the offer of new value-added services, such as storage. The storage trough batteries will allow photovoltaic plants to participate in the market for dispatching services (MSD) and to contrast the effect of “cannibalization” in the hours of overgeneration. These services have caught investors’ eyes thanks to the legislation introduced by the Simplification Decree and the tender of the Fast Reserve called by Terna: these are important innovations, but it is essential to continue defining an enabling regulatory framework that will determine long-term price signals.

It is necessary to consider other issues. At the first time, the issue related to the permitting  for development of new plants and to the repowering. To face and to resolve these issues is important to potential benefits of REN sources to achieve the targets planned in the PNIEC. Investors address the permitting problem by focusing on regions with more efficient PA and/or less slowed down by the large number of requests, developing small projects, connected to medium voltage, subject to Simplified Permitting Procedures, focusing on industrial land that have the possibility to access the DM FER 1, evaluating projects of land enhancement such as agrophotovoltaic systems. These are important solutions but it’s not enough. It’s necessary an enabling action by lawmaker.

In order to support PV industry in Italy, it is important to implement improvement actions in regulatory and normative system as to revise the RES Ministerial Decree 1 by extending its duration, increasing the quotas, giving agrophotovoltaic projects the possibility to access this form of public guarantee. It’s essential to simplify the authorization process for photovoltaic projects on industrial land with power below 10 MW connected to medium voltage. Finally, it’ necessary to continue to develop an enabling regulatory framework for storage and access to grid services to include REN sources in the national energy system.

These are the “good intentions” and wishes that we will continue to follow in 2021, convinced that acting together, in synergy with territories and institutions, is the only possible way to bring renewables to be the main source of energy supply and so contribute to an increasingly sustainable restart.

© EF Solare Italia 2024
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