EPIA: Storm warning for the Italian photovoltaic sector

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Source: European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)

Brussels – The Italian Senate has adopted a decree-law that introduces significant retroactive cuts of the guaranteed Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and new taxes for self-consumed electricity. These new rules will seriously damage the investment climate for solar PV in the country and the image of Europe as a stable investment centre.

The Decree-Law retroactively modifies the way FiT will be paid as of 1 January 2015 to existing PV installations. PV system owners, which were granted FiT for a period of 20 years under the “Conto Energia” mechanism, now have to choose between three options that result in a cut of the previously guaranteed FiT:

  • A rearrangement of the incentive payment over 24 years against a 17 percent to 25percent reduction of the incentive (the closer to the end of the 20-year FiT period, the higher the reduction)
  • A 5 percent to 9 percent reduction of the incentive paid over the initially agreed period of 20 years (the bigger the PV system, the higher the reduction)
  • A postponement of the payment of the incentive through the payment of a lower incentive over a first period of time (duration and incentive reduction still to be determined), and the payment of a higher incentive over a second period of time (the total duration of the FiT remains 20 years)

“This new Decree-Law is forcing Italian PV system owners to choose between bad and worse. Not only will it destabilise the once-flourishing Italian PV market, but it will also give a very bad signal to the entire Italian economy, showing that there is no more legal certainty for investors in the country in any economic sector,” stated Oliver Schäfer, EPIA President. While the text foresees a number of exemptions to these harmful retroactive measures, EPIA warns that these will not be enough to preserve a stable and predictable environment for investments.

Finally, according to the new law, self-consumed PV electricity will be subject to a 5 percent“general system charge” as of 1 January 2015. “Prosumers can provide flexibility to the energy system, contributing to the system management and avoiding costly grid extensions. But these new business models cannot be unlocked if new taxes and charges are being wrongly imposed,” concluded Mr. Schäfer.

Source: The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA)