“Our country” , according to Federico Frattini, researcher at the Politecnico of Milan and member of the Energy & Strategy Group, and one of the speakers at the conference , “will continue to experience rather consistent growth rates, with a new installed capacity of about 2-2.5 GW in 2012 and 2013 and approximately 1.5 GW in 2013, for a combined capacity of around 17 GW by that date. It’s difficult to make estimates much farther into the future, as growth will largely depend on the price dynamics of the modules and systems, which are currently very difficult to predict. In light of recent achievements announced by the GSE and the requests received for inclusion on the list for large systems, I think we can say that the Italian PV market has fortunately not experienced the installation ‘block’ that some feared.”
Today, photovoltaic electricity is cheaper than one might think, and for many in Italy, Grid Parity
is very close. According to Federico Frattini, “We must take into account the many factors affecting this important milestone. For example, the type of system, whether it’s being used for self-consumption or for sale of energy, its location, the purchase price of the same (currently a highly variable parameter), and so on. What we can say is that grid parity will be reached earlier, within 5-6 years, for those systems designed to meet the needs of commercial and industrial customers located in the south that consume a lot of electricity in the summer and during the hottest hours of the day. I’m thinking, for example, of 100-200 kW systems installed on the roofs of shopping centers. For applications like these, we may already be close to grid parity in some areas, such as Sicily”.
Hence, Italy confirms its leadership position despite the recent uncertainties which, in the first quarter, resulted in declining revenues and jobs at risk.
According to Valerio Natalizia, president of ANIE / GIFI, one of the featured conference speakers for October 6, “This year’s numbers are conflicting, especially in Italy where the pace of installations never seems to take a break. It’s enough to look at the numbers that the GSE sends out periodically. We’re already over the 10 GW of combined installed capacity. It’s a great outcome. On the other hand, however, we are facing a market that has suffered a number of obstacles and abrupt restarts. It is not easy to work in these conditions.”
“Other news about possible further cuts in tariffs - continued Valerio Natalizia - have created and continue to create further uncertainty, as it’s difficult to combine them with an industrial policy that would instead require long-term stability and certainty. In the near future, we need continuity and regulatory stability. Until 2016, we must move forward with this version of the Conto Energia. In the meantime, we must strengthen the electricity transmission infrastructure and develop the smart grid. As soon as possible, we need concrete projects with a real plan for diffusion over the entire Italian territory”.
Another subject to be addressed during "The Solar Future: Italy" conference will be the Italian chain , a basic production and employment plan that will be very important for the country. “Italian companies - according to Federico Frattini - still have room for growth, and our estimates, even for 2012, are confirmed. But we need to verify their future competitiveness and the strategies they will adopt in order to reposition themselves in the market. In particular, the business and employment expansion plans of those Italian companies, such as systems integrator and EPC contractor, which in recent years have focused heavily on the large systems segment. Since this type of system was particularly penalized by the Conto Energia IV, these companies must quickly reposition themselves in the small and medium systems segment, especially those installed on buildings, or risk a potential loss of competitiveness and market share”.
To ensure their excellence is recognized all over the world, Italian companies must know how to manage these important challenges. “In order to do this - according to Andrea Brumgnach, Director of Sales & Marketing, ME Making Energy SpA , and another conference speaker – the companies must change their approach to the market. We must organize our businesses more efficiently, investing in research and development, rigorously structuring after-sales activities and looking to emerging markets as potential reservoirs of new development. Those who approach this change as an opportunity will be even stronger than before; those who see it as a constraint will end up overwhelmed by the changing rules of the game.”
Opportunities and the future of the Italian PV industry will be addressed at “The Solar Future: Italy” in Milan, October 6 and 7, at the Nhow Hotel, 35 via Tortona: www.thesolarfuture.it