Italy''s Minister of Economic Development has released a final draft of the nation''s new feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaic (PV) generation. This draft of the Conto Energia V includes a registration system for PV plants larger than 12 kW as well as capacity-based and performance-based fees.
The new rules would impose a fee of EUR 5/kW for systems up to 20 kW and EUR 2/kW for plants larger than 20 kW, as well as a production fee of EUR 0.001/kWh to be imposed starting July 1st, 2012. Including these relatively modest fees, the rates in the new Conto Energia represent only a slight reduction from the degression in place from the Conto Energia IV.
The new policy will increase funding for the program by EUR 500 million annually. The Conto Energia V will take effect at the earliest on July 1st, 2012, or after the value of annual incentives in the Conto Energia IV reaches EUR 6 billion for 30 days.
Smaller systems not included in funding caps
New feed-in tariff rates will begin at between EUR 0.237/kWh and EUR 0.135/kWh for rooftop PV plants, depending upon scale, and EUR 0.229 to EUR 0.128/kWh for ground-mounted plants installed during the first phase in the second half of 2012.
Self-consumption tariff rates will be EUR 0.155/kWh to EUR 0.053/kWh for rooftop PV plants and EUR 0.147/kWh to EUR 0.046/kWh for ground-mounted plants, which Jeffries states offers a healthy incentive for the self-consumption market, particularly given Italy''s high retail electricity rates.
As with the Conto Energia IV, smaller systems will not be subject to program funding caps, which analysts at Jeffries state will continue to support the expansion of smaller PV plants. However, the definition of such systems has gotten more restrictive, with only systems smaller than 12 kW excluded from the registry.
The Ministry states that the performance-based fee will be applied to the costs of management, monitoring and control incurred by grid operator Gestore Servizi Energetici SpA (Rome, Italy).
Cost of program cited
The GSE cites a number of factors in support of the changes in the new law, including the significant drop in the price of PV systems, Italy being ahead of schedule on its goal to meet 26% of electricity production from renewables by 2020, and over-use of agricultural land.
Perhaps most significant is the cost of the program, which was budgeted at EUR 6 to 7 billion annually, and is nearing this total.