In Italy the currently applicable “Conto Energia IV” providing incentives for PV electricity production will be replaced by “Conto Energia V”. The amendment coming into force by the end of August is a result from the fact that on July 12 the annual incentive volume for solar power of € 6 billion was exhausted. The latter was reported by the Italian energy agency GSE (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici).
The new incentives envisage a feed-in-tariff reduction of approximately 40% compared to the previous renewable energy act. “The complex incentive system, however, requires an individual examination of whether and how much remuneration for feeding in is to be paid”, explains Svenja Bartels of Rödl & Partner, a law firm with offices in Padua and Rome.
At the same time, nearly all systems with an output higher than 12 kW will become subject to registration. Only in cases of roof-top PV-systems to be realised in the course of an asbestos removal, this threshold will be raised up to 50 kW. The incentive system will change exactly on August 27. For operators who have already been granted an incentive according to Conto Energia IV their status remains untouched. “All operators receiving an incentive according to one of the feed-in tariff decrees ‘Conto Energia’, however, on from January 1, 2013, will have to pay a contribution of 0.05 €-ct/kWh fed in,” Rödl & Partner refer to the amendment. This would mean a subsequent change in support conditions.
Open space PV systems that are in accordance with the provisions of the Decreto Romani from March 2011 and connected to the grid until August 27 will receive the feed-in tariff according to Conto Energia IV. If the plants start operation between August 27 and September 21, 2012, tariffs of the new Conto Energia V will be applicable. At the same time, PV systems of this category enjoy priority for first registration in 2013. All PV systems on agricultural lands connected to the grid after September 21 will not be eligible for feed-in remuneration. In the future, only operators planning PV systems on non-agricultural lands will have the right for an individual examination of their remuneration claim.
“It is clear that Italy is verging towards grid parity,” comments Svenja Bartels. “The strength of solar radiation in southern Italy and falling module prices make this goal attainable.”
The amendment provides good prospects regarding the marketing of electricity from PV plants with a rated power above 1 MW, according to Bartels. In these cases, the operator may receive the difference between the standard feed-in tariff and the hourly electricity price calculated by GSE. Naturally, the output of the plant has to be sold directly to the electricity market. “However, we still expect to receive clarification on how the new marketing system will work,” notes Bartels.
Operators consuming parts of the electricity output of their PV system on-site, will receive an additional bonus. According to Rödl & Partner, “There will also be an additional tariff bonus for plants with modules or inverters manufactured in the EU or European Economic Area.”