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Entrevista a D. David Armanini, promotor fotovoltaico Italiano.

Carlos Mateu
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Entrevista a D. David Armanini, promotor fotovoltaico Italiano.
Suelo Solar entrevista a D. David Armanini, Director de la promotora fotovoltaica italiana Prothea, quién nos muestra las grandes expectativas de futuro del sector fotovoltaico italiano.

Nos encontramos en la Feria Internacional Fotovoltaica de Valencia, dónde hemos tenido la grata oportunidad de conversar con cientos de profesionales procedentes de Alemania, China, Dinamarca, Italia, Francia, Portugal, etc., sobre las perspectivas de futuro de la energia solar fotovoltaica. La mayoría de ellos, tras conocer nuestra procedencia española, se asombran de la paralisis fotovoltaica española, y desean que volvamos a corto-medio plazo a recuperar el liderazgo si nuestros in-merecidos Gobernantes, así nos lo permiten.

Italia, a día de hoy, es uno de los grandes destinos del profesional fotovoltaico español debido a su perspectiva de futuro, tarifas, Política energética, y óptimas condiciones climatológicas.

Tenemos con nosotros a David Armanini, Managing Director de Prothea, promotor de energía solar fotovoltaica, quién deseamos nos ofrezca su visión personal del sector fotovoltaico en Italia.

Good Morning Dr. Armani:

P. Dr. Armanini, as you know the solar PV market has passed through a period of limited growth, could you give us an overview of the Italian market?
R. The Italian market has shown an amazing growth in the last years thanks to the well-known Conto Energia, the Italian PV feed-in tariff scheme. More than 1.5GW of solar PV installations have been realized so far and market operators are forecasting an yearly market size of about 1.5GW. The current incentive scheme was due to expire by the end of this year and this was creating an uncertain environment for investment. However, the new Conto Energia has been approved recently and it substantially contributes to clarify the investment horizon for the time frame 2011-13. It was long awaited, but thanks to the positive view of the government on the renewable sector and thanks to a clear European framework, it can be considered satisfactory.

P. So, now that the new feed-in tariff scheme was approved in Italy, could you highlight the key novelties of this decree?

R. Based on the assumption that price of solar PV installations have dropped since the approval of the decree in 2007, the incentives have been cut accordingly. Prior quantifying incentives cut; two important changes that have been introduced should be highlighted. PV plants are now divided in two major categories: built on building and any other plant types. Moreover, 6 classes of plant sizes have been introduced: from 1 to 3 kW; from 3 to 20 kW; from 20 to 200 kW; from 200 to 1000 kW; from 1 MW to 5 MW; and over 5 MW.
To give an idea of the consistency of the cuts, they are about 10% for the small residential rooftop plants (1-3kw) and they reach about 25% cut for the ground mounted plant larger than 1MW.
Aiming at favouring selected environmental criteria and at the development of specific areas, an extra 5% incentive is recognized to projects that improve the building energy class, or that involve asbestos removal or projects located in small municipalities, in industrial or commercial areas or inside quarries and municipal dumps.  

P. Do you forecast abrupt changes in the amount of solar PV installed in the next years?

R. Aware of similar experiences happened in other European countries, the government have approved a scheme that decreases the incentive price through time to avoid abrupt steps. Every period of four months in 2011 the tariff will further decline and then it will decrease by an additional 6% in 2012 and 2013.

P. What is the overall installed capacity that is subject to this incentive scheme?

R. This is a potentially critical point of the decree; the Italian PV associations were requesting a cap of about 8GW to help meeting the EU target for renewable production. Unfortunately, the government has conceived only 3GW of power. However, similarly to the old Conto Energia, there is a 14 months window after passing the cap in which it is still possible to obtain the incentive, thus guaranteeing some investment flexibility.

P. Is there any interesting technological innovation or noteworthy element favoured by this decree?
R. Three interesting technological innovations will be favoured by obtaining higher tariffs. Favourable economics for the installation of innovative PV material, as glass PV surfaces, and concentrating solar power plants will boost innovation in this sector, transforming Italy in a cutting edge market for this kind of plants.
A third element of innovation is related to the need to account to the now relevant contribution of not programmable renewable energy sources to the national electrical grid. The ability to foreseen future production with a high level of certainty and innovation on the energy storage side are probably the two future innovation challenges in this field. The decree will recognize a higher tariff to those plant owners who will release a reliable production output on a daily basis to help the national grid manager to better allocate electricity in the grid.

P. A side of the new feed-in tariff decree, are there other legislative innovation?
R. One of the peculiarities of the Italian market that have contributed to limiting growth is the regional differences of the authorization pathway to grant permission to construct a solar PV plants. Earlier this year, national guidelines have been approved and are under implementation at the regional scale. These guidelines greatly contribute to harmonize the authorization process at the national scale and to further encourage the growth of renewable energy sources.

P. What do you see as the most promising sector in the PV market in Italy in the next years?
R. From an investor perspective, thanks to the new feed-in tariff scheme, we see as extremely promising the development of medium to large rooftop mounted solar PV plants. On top of having access to a higher incentive, they are usually subjected to a much simpler regulation, substantially cutting development time and costs. We have been active in the sector in the last year, offering interesting opportunities to our investors and customers and we are assuming a substantial growth of this market segment.


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