The Italian Solar Renaissance

Published on Friday, 22 June 2018

“The Italian photovoltaic fleet now covers 7.7% of the national energy demand, with an installed capacity of around 20 GW and an average age of 8/10 years, and 6 years for utility-scale plants.”

To foster the development and progress of photovoltaic energy in Italy, on 13 June, energy operators and institutions met at the offices of the Energy Services Manager (GSE), the public company promoting renewables, to sign the “Charter for the sustainable relaunch of photovoltaic”, a document that establishes the principles to follow for the renovation of Italian solar plants.  

“Enel Green Power, one of the main signatories of the Charter, is working alongside institutions to foster a solar renaissance in Italy and modernise plants in order to bring them to the highest efficiency standards.”

Alongside the “Charter for the sustainable relaunch of photovoltaic”, the results of a study conducted by Althesys, Enel Foundation, GSE were also presented. The study analyses the conditions for relaunching solar energy, highlighting the advantages it can bring to the Italian system.

2030 Goal

SEN assigns a key role to photovoltaic, which by 2030 will become the main Italian renewable source, surpassing hydropower signficantly. 

According to the Italian government’s objectives, at the end of the next decade, installed photovoltaic capacity will triple, up to about 60 GW, for a production of 72 TWh.

This rapid growth will come from the renovation of existing plants and the construction of new plants, especially utility-scale sized, with power above 0.8 MW. 

“Even though they are only 0.8 % of the total, utility-scale plants represent 44% of total capacity and 50% of production.”

According to the Althesys study, the updating – revamping and repowering – of the utility-scale photovoltaic fleet in Italy will cost approximately 250 million euro, and will lead to greater power, estimated at about 6500 MW.

However, the greatest increase in Italian installed capacity will come from new plants, which will be built with around 175 billion euro in total investments, as predicted by SEN.

“Photovoltaic is a key to the2030 decarbonization goals, and will have to be developed both in large plants and in distributed generation. It’s necessary to intervene on the Italian photovoltaic fleet, making up for production lost due to technological decline and investing in new installations.”

– Alessandro Marangoni, CEO of Althesys and Research Coordinator

Sustainability that Creates Wealth

Thanks to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, the updating and development of the photovoltaic fleet is a great opportunity for all of Italy.  

According to the Althesys study, the relaunch of photovoltaic will generate 11 billion euro in economic returns and create almost 20,000 new jobs.

There will also be significant benefits for the environment, considering that the greater installed capacity will lead to an emissions reduction of 12.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“Further advantages will come from the development of the supply chain for the management and recovery of materials, which generate savings in the cost of raw materials, new job opportunities and further abatement of emissions.”

Sustainable development, reduced emissions, employment benefits: in Italy, the renaissance of solar energy is upon us.