Solar power in Italy

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Solar power in Italy has increased rapidly in recent years with the country ranking among the world’s largest producers of electricity from solar power. Solar power accounted for 7% of the electricity generated in Italy during 2013 (ranked 1st in the world), a share that's expected to double by 2030.[1][2]

As of April 2016 Italy had the worlds fifth largest installed solar PV capacity (behind 1. China 2. Germany. 3. Japan 4. USA and ahead of the 6. UK.) The years 2009-2013 saw a boom in installed photovoltaic nameplate capacity, increasing nearly 15-fold, and 2013's year-end capacity of 17,928 MW ranked third in the world, ahead of the United States at that time.[3] This was partly due to the generous solar PV power generation incentives offered under the Conto Energia schemes (see below).

As of December 2013, the installed capacity is approaching 18 GW, with a production so important that several gas turbine power plants currently operate at half their potential during the day. The sector provides employment to about 100,000 people, especially in design and installation.[4]

The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station is the largest photovoltaic power station in Italy, in Montalto di Castro in Viterbo province. The project was built in several phases. The first phase with a total capacity of 24 MW was connected in late 2009. The second phase (8 MW) was commissioned in 2010, and the third and fourth phases, totaling 44 MW, were completed in December 2010, bringing the total to 85 MW.[5]

Photovoltaics[edit]

Watts per capita by region in 2013
  1 - 10 W/inhabitant
  10 - 50 Watts
  50 - 100 Watts
  100 - 200 Watts
  200 - 350 Watts
  350 - 500 Watts
  500 - 750 Watts
  >750 Watts

As of the end of 2010, there were 155,977 solar PV plants, with a total capacity of 3,469.9 MW.[6]:24 At the end of 2011, there were 330,196 installations, totaling 12,773 MW.[7] The number of plants and the total capacity surged between 2009 and 2011 following high incentives from Conto Energia. The total power capacity installed tripled and plants installed doubled in 2010 compared to 2009, with an increase of plant's average dimensions.[6]:24 The increase was even greater in 2011.[8]

Energy production from photovoltaics was 1,905.7 GWh in 2010, and 18,800 GWh in 2012.[7]:20[9] Annual growth rates were fast in recent years: 251% in 2009, 182% in 2010, and 466% in 2011.[6]:30 More than a fifth of the total production in 2010 came from the southern region of Apulia.[6]:30 In 2011, 20% came from Apulia, followed by 10% from Emilia-Romagna.[7] Italy added an estimated 3.4 GW of capacity in 2012.[10]

The annual energy production from solar PV in Italy ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 kWh per installed kWp.[6]:23 A 2013 report by Deutsche Bank concluded that solar power has already reached grid parity in Italy.[11]

Italian growth of PV capacity in megawatts since 1992.
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
1994
1998
2002
2006
2010
2014
Year Capacity
(MWp)
Growth Generation
(GWh)
Generation
%
Consumption
%
Ref
2006 37
2007 87 108%
2008 432 397% 200 0.1%
2009 1,144 165% 677 0.24% 0.21% [12]
2010 3,470 203% 1,874 0.64% 0.57% [12][13]
2011 12,783 268% 10,668 3.7% 3.2% [7][13][14]
2012 16,479 29% 18,631 6.5% 5.7% [9][15][16]
2013 18,074 9.7% 21,229 7.0% 6.7% [17][18][19]
2014 18,460 2.1% 23,299 8.7% 7.5% [20][21]
2015 18,892 2.3% 22,942 [22]

Feed-in tariffs[edit]

In 2005 the Italian government introduced the first feed in tariff (FIT) specifically for photovoltaics connected to the grid, the Conto Energia scheme. The payments for these were designed to be made over a 20 year period and to incentivise both smaller and larger producers to invest in the installation of photovoltaic plants and systems. Between 2005 and 2013 five different Conto Energia schemes were introduced by ministerial decree. Each scheme had differing terms and conditions and tariffs provided to producers.

The following table provides a summary of the costs and the power installed under Conto Energia schemes 1-5:[23]

Conto Energia 1 Conto Energia 2 Conto Energia 3 Conto Energia 4 Conto Energia 5 Total
Date 28 July 2005
6 February 2006
19 February 2007 6 August 2010 5 May 2011 5 July 2012
Final scheme. Ended 6 July 2013
MW Installed 163.4 6,791.2 1,566.6 7,600.4 2,094.9 18,216.6
Yearly cost
(million Euro)
95.2 3,270.1 648.9 2,469.0 216.9 6,700.0
Yearly cost per kW installed
(Euro, estimated)
582 482 414 325 104 368

The first Conto Energia resulted in the relatively small amount of 163 MW of new PV power installations, perhaps because solar power was still in its infancy in 2005.

The second Conto Energia introduced in 2007 resulted in a massive increase of 6,791 MW of new PV power at an annual cost of €3.27 billion and was the most costly scheme. Almost half of the total cost of the scheme is accounted for by Conto Energia 2.

Conto Energia 3 ran briefly resulting in 1,567 MW of installed power at an annual cost of €0.65 billion. This was succeeded by Conto Energia 4 which resulted in the largest increase in solar capacity so far at 7,600 MW of installed power at the annual cost of €2.47 billion. More solar capacity was added under Conto Energia 4 then took place even under Conto Energia 2 and at a lower cost.

The final Conto 5 was introduced by ministerial decree in 2012 and it was announced that the feed in tariff would end once the total annual costs of cumulative Conto Energia reached €6.7 billion.[24] This figure was reached in 2013 and the final Conto Energia scheme was ended on 6/7/2013. The final scheme resulted in a further 2,095 MW of installed capacity at a cost of €0.22 billion. Under the Conto Energia incentive scheme a total of 18,217 MW of installed solar PV power was added at annual cost of €6.7 billion.

Largest PV power plants[edit]

Italy's largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants[25]
Name of Plant Peak capacity
(MW)
Production
(GWh/year)
Capacity factor
(%)
Start of operation
Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station 84.2[26] 19[27] 2009-2010
Rovigo Photovoltaic Power Plant 70.6 -- -- 2010
Serenissima Solar Park 48 -- -- 2011
Cellino San Marco Solar Park 43 56 14.9 2010
Alfonsine Solar Park 36.2 -- -- 2010
Sant'Alberto Solar Park 34.6 -- -- 2010
Su-Scioffu Greenhouse PV Park 20.0 -- -- 2011
Anguillara PV power plant 15 -- -- 2010
Priolo PV power plant 13.5 -- -- 2010
Loreo PV power plant 12.6 -- -- 2010
Craco PV power plant 12 -- -- 2010
Manzano PV power plant 11 -- -- 2010
Gamascia PV power plant[28] 9.7 -- -- 2010
Ragusa PV power plant 8.4 -- -- 2010

Concentrated solar power[edit]

The 15 MWt Archimede solar field is a concentrated solar power thermal field at Priolo Gargallo near Syracuse. The plant was inaugurated on 14 July 2010.[29][30][31] It is the first concentrated solar power plant to use molten salt for heat transfer and storage which is integrated with a combined-cycle gas facility.[29][31][32][33]

There is considerable academic and commercial interest internationally in a new form of CSP, called STEM, for off-grid applications to produce 24-hour industrial scale power for mining sites and remote communities in Italy, other parts of Europe, Australia, Asia, North Africa and Latin America. STEM uses fluidized silica sand as a thermal storage and heat transfer medium for CSP systems. It has been developed by Salerno based Magaldi Industries. The first commercial application of STEM will take place in Sicily from 2015.[34]

Companies[edit]

Major Italian solar companies include:

  • Helios Technology

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Andy Colthorpe (January 10, 2014). "PV provided 7% of Italy's electricity in 2013, says transmission operator". PV-Tech.org. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  2. ^ "Renewable the star player in Italy". Datamonitor Energy. July 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Cumulative Installed Solar Photovoltaics Capacity in Leading Countries and the World, 2000-2013". Earth Policy Center. June 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  4. ^ Il fotovoltaico in Italia ha una potenza di 17 GW e dà lavoro a 100mila. Quale futuro senza incentivi?
  5. ^ eXenewable Project Profile Page - Monalto di Castro, PV, Italy
  6. ^ a b c d e "Rapporto Statistico 2010" (PDF). Statistiche sulle fonti rinnovabili. Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE). Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d "GSE Statistical Report 2011 - Renewable Power Plants in Italy" (PDF). http://www.gse.it/. Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE S.p.A.). Retrieved 18 June 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE S.p.A
  9. ^ a b EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer - installations 2011 and 2012". http://www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.  External link in |website= (help)
  10. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013 - 2017". European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  11. ^ Michael Graham Richard (8 April 2013). "Solar power has reached grid parity in India and Italy". treehugger. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer - installations 2009 and 2010". http://www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.  External link in |website= (help)
  13. ^ a b EUROBSER'VER. "Photovoltaic Barometer - installations 2010 and 2011". http://www.energies-renouvelables.org. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2013.  External link in |website= (help)
  14. ^ Paul Gipe (2012-08-31). "Italian Solar Generation Surpasses Wind for First Time". RenewableEnergyWorld.com. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  15. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  16. ^ Thomas Gerke (2013-01-15). "Italian Solar Provides 5.6% Of Demand In 2012". CleanTechnica. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  17. ^ "Photovoltaics:Overview of installed PV in 2013". Renewables International. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  18. ^ "EARLY DATA ON 2013 ELECTRICITY DEMAND: 317 BILLION KWH OF DEMAND, -3.4% COMPARED TO 2012". Terna (company). 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  19. ^ "Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2014" (PDF). http://www.iea-pvps.org/index.php?id=32. International Energy Agency — Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 30 March 2015. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015.  External link in |website= (help)
  20. ^ "Il bilancio energetico". terna.it. 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  21. ^ "Rapporto Statistico 2015 Solare Fotovoltaico" (PDF). GSE. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  22. ^ "GSE Website Photovoltaic Counter, viewed 27/4/16". 
  23. ^ "www.gse.it/en/feedintariff/Photovoltaic/FifthFeed-inScheme". 
  24. ^ PV Resources.com (2010). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  25. ^ "Montalto di Castro". SMA. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  26. ^ Solar Park Montalto di Castro
  27. ^ Real Time Output Display
  28. ^ a b Backwell, Ben (2010-07-14). "Enel starts up its Archimede plant in world first for CSP". ReCharge. NHST Media Group. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  29. ^ Babington, Deepa (2010-07-14). "Sicily plant offers Italy new impetus on solar front". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  30. ^ a b "At Priolo Enel inaugurates the "Archimede" power plant" (Press release). Enel. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  31. ^ "ENEL opens "world's first" molten-salt/solar plant". The Engineer. Centaur Media plc. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  32. ^ Popham, Peter (2007-03-28). "Sicily to build world's first solar power plant". The Independent. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  33. ^ CSP Today, April 11, 2014 "Italian project shows strong potential for sand based CSP"

External links[edit]