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    Solar

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Italy

What is Solar Energy in Italy?

The solar energy in Italy has seen a major surge in this industry among other European countries such as Germany, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands.

In July 2005, the country started its first “Conto Energia” program to support the development of renewable power, and the result so far has been remarkable. In 2018, Italy added solar PV capacity of 437 MW, and its PV market grew by 7%.

The major driving factor in the Italian PV market has been solar rooftops, and the number of solar installation projects with more than 1 MW capacity increased in in 2017 and 2018.

Italy is considered the country of sunshine which makes the nation very favourable for the installations of solar energy production plants and farms. In Central-Southern Italy, the annual solar radiation can range from 4.7 kWh per square metre per day, and 5.4 kWh per square metre per day in Sicily. While the other regions also have a very high solar energy production potential making Italy one of the leading countries for the production of solar energy, as well as in the sector of research and technological innovation.

The solar energy in Italy has seen a major surge in this industry among other European countries such as Germany, Turkey, Spain, and the Netherlands. Italy’s PV market is known as one of the photovoltaic markets that definitely deserve a place in the solar energy spotlight. In fact, during the first ten years of the new millennium, Italy was on the third spot after Germany and Spain to experience a significant boom in solar installations after encouraging the citizen through government incentives. This made most of the manufacturers and citizens embrace and support solar power.

In 2010, The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station was completed and it is considered the largest photovoltaic power station in Italy with 85 MW solar capacity. Along with this largest PV power station, there are also other large PV plants like Cellino San Marco with 42.7 MW capacity, San Bellino with 70.6 MW capacity, and Sant’ Alberto with solar capacity of 34.6 MW.

Aside from conventional solar PV technology, Italy is also known for its developing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. To function efficiently, this concentrated solar technology requires higher direct solar irradiation, which makes the country suitable for this technique as Italy has more exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, the southern regions including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily also offer good conditions for CSP technology, the reason why the Italian government provided large investments to promote this solar power development.

Currently, there are three solar plants running in the country. The first one is the Archimede solar plant, which was installed on the island of Sicily in 2010, attaining a solar capacity of 5 MW. Moreover, planning and promotion for the CSP technology will undergo several additional projects which would add another solar capacity of 360 MW, annually.

As of now, Italy for being known as “sunshine-blessed” country is currently the second-largest market in Europe in terms of installed solar power generation capacity. Which then, achieved over 20 GW of photovoltaic (PV) power plants in 2018. This year, the Italian solar power market is expected to enter a new series of growth, particularly investing in “grid parity” projects that mostly rely on corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Power Optimizers

What are Power Optimizers for Solar Inverters?

Power optimizers are additional devices used in Solar Power generation to convert DC to DC (that’s right, not a typo, DC to DC). Power optimizers tune the performance of individual panels in the Solar power plant. 

Optimizers are required because the photoelectric effect does not produce the same energy in all the panels equally. Factors like the shading of panels due to clouds and dust can result in non-uniform distribution of power.

What are the types of Power Optimizers for Solar Inverters?

Module-level Power Optimizer: Power optimizers at each module level optimize the energy distribution to negate the effect of peculiar conditions.

Sometimes the panels don’t operate at the optimal power efficiency. In that case, the module measures the maximum power point tracking. MPPT helps to optimize the DC characteristics to get the maximum possible power output.

In Solar Power plants, the panels get connected in series. Therefore the reduced output from a few panels can lead to the reduced power output power of the whole system. 

Sometimes up to 50% of power is lost. Power optimizers become critical for not only optimizing the output DC power. But also save the system from power loss of up to half of the capacity.

How do the Power Optimizers for Solar Plant work?

Large Solar plants face an efficiency dip in power production and delivery of the power to the load. Solar Inverters convert DC to AC for the consumers. 

The DC input to the inverters is not consistent without an optimizer. Power optimizers use maximum power point tracking to make the DC power output from panels optimal.

This optimal DC power is fed to the Solar Inverters to get the efficient flow of current at optimal levels. Smaller DC voltage is hard to convert into AC voltage. Power Optimizers are necessary, especially for big Solar power plants.

What are some top brands of Power Optimizers for Solar Inverters?

SolarEdge produces high quality PV modules for Power Optimization in the Solar Inverters.

Latest technology in Power optimizers is presented by the following brands.

  • Alencon
  • Tigo
  • APsystems
  • SunSepc