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).