Italy deepens cuts to ground-mounted PV

The Italian government has issued a decree restricting funding for PV systems on agricultural land to a small number of already approved projects. However, the revision must still be made law by the parliament within 60 days. With the lobby already up in arms over the decree, observers are expecting to see some amendments.

The government bill points to the so-called Romani Decree of March 2011 which states that systems on agricultural land are not eligible for incentives if their rated capacity is greater than 1 MW or if the site is not located at least 2 km from the nearest ground-mounted system of the same operator. Furthermore, the system must not cover more than 10% of the overall agricultural area. The exemptions do not apply to land which has lain fallow for more than five years.

Originally, the restrictions of the Romani Decree were supposed to have taken effect at the end of March 2012, but the new decree would have them go into effect as of its issuance date of 24th January. “The exemptions will then only apply to systems which have already been approved, which already comply with the requirements of the Conto Energia IV and which will be in operation by 24-01-2013,” said Roberto Pera and Svenja Bartels from the law firm Rödl & Partner. Any projects not connected to the grid by 29th March are now in danger of “not receiving the incentives set out in the Conto Energia IV”. As the original draft of the decree included more generous time frames, the lawyers assume that there must have been an error in the definition of the transitional period. If retroactive changes are made to these time frames, the two lawyers expect a flood of lawsuits.

This would already be the second blow to PV this year: on 20th January, state-owned Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), which is responsible for the subsidies, said that there are already insufficient funds for large-scale PV systems for the second half of 2012.

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