2014 have been the first full year with no PV feed-in tariff in Italy. In past years the generous incentives allowed Italy to reach the top positions in the new PV installed capacity and concerns were expressed by many renewable energy industrial associations and stakeholders about the sustainability of the market for the expiration of the scheme in July 2013. On the other hand the cost bared by consumers on electricity bills have reached 6.7 billion €/year (for 20 years).
By the end of 2013, 18 GW of PV installed capacity were reached (latest available official data) for a production of 21.2 TWh (7,6% of net production and 6,7% of total electricity demand).
In 2014 the total PV production reached 23.3 TWh (+9,8% compared to 2013 and 8,7% of net production). The following figure shows monthly PV production data: due to random variation of solar irradiation, it is difficult to evaluate the total installed capacity for 2014. Assuming a uniform new installation monthly rate and the same PV monthly productivity of 2013 (equivalent to 1212 hours/year), it is possible to derive the total new installed capacity for 2014, which is equal to 900 MW.
It is important to notice that the extrapolation is affected by severe assumptions and thus have to be taken very carefully. In any case it is interesting to notice that this value is coherent with evaluations of different sources (G.B. Zorzoli speaks of almost 1400 MW while HIS estimated 800 MW).
Apart for the discrepancies in the evaluation methods, it is worth noting that, in spite of the expiration of the PV feed-in tariff, the PV Italian market has grown by about 1GW/year. The reduction of PV costs indeed led this technology to be more and more competitive and to reduce the intensity of the public support needed. Nowadays in Italy PV can benefit from a tax exemption (50% of investment costs can be recovered in 10 years) and the net metering regime. This two mechanisms, together with the high price of electricity (about 0,2 €/kWh for a “typical” domestic consumer) make the PV technology more and more competitive, in particular in the distributed generation approach. This typically implies small PV plant (less than 20 kW), designed to fulfill the consumer annual consumptions.
The opportunity to further increase the electrification of Italian energy consumptions (e.g. heat pumps, electrical mobility) will most probability increase PV market opportunities: indeed forecasts for the period 2015-2019 talk of an 8 GW market - approx. 1.5 GW/year (source: HIS).