Italy plans retroactive PV cuts

Italy's industry and finance ministries have made public a joint legal decree that foresees cuts to the support of PV plants above a capacity of 200kW, even if already operating. 

Under the decree, operators of those plants can choose options including having their overall support cut by 10%, or amending the length of the support term.

As smaller PV plants are exempt, the measure would hit only 8,600 out of 200,000 PV operators, but those plants above 200kW are receiving 60% of all support, the ministries say.

The decree still needs to be approved by parliament and turned into a regular law. If it were to become law in its current form, Italy would follow a worrying path among European countries to impose retroactive changes to support schemes already followed by Spain, the Czech Republic and Greece.

The Italian government argues that the measure would save electricity consumers €1.5bn ($2bn) per year and is necessary as Italy's power costs are about one third higher than the EU average, which harms small and medium-sized businesses.

"The philosophy of the intervention is: take away from those who had too much and give it back to those who have paid too much," the ministries say in an online presentation on their "measures for competitiveness", which also promise to simplify administrative processes for small renewables producers and other measures.

PV last year met 7.8% of Italy's electricity demand, giving the country the highest solar penetration in the world.

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