The segments of commercial rooftop as well as open space plants made up 60 percent of Italy’s new photovoltaic installations in 2011. From a total of 9.33 GW, installers alone connected approx. 5.6 GW in the above mentioned segments to the Italian electricity grid. That was the result of an analysis of last year’s installations, by Daniel Christian Quack, market analyst at EuPD Research, presented during the 3rd PV Briefing and Networking Forum Europe of the Joint Forces for Solar initiative on May 10th, in Verona.
According to his estimations, the planned funding stop for middle and large scale open space plants, as well as large rooftop plants, in the planned funding law (Conto Energia 5), may lead to a complete downturn of the market in the large scale segment. Because plant sizes of up to 12 KW are not affected by the cuts to the Conto Energia 5, experts estimate a slight boom. Benefit of these developments may also be seen in the building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) sector as further bonuses are planned for this kind of technology.
New Attitudes Regarding Installations Needed
Participants of the panel discussion and Italian experts agreed that the focus of the Italian market will shift to small and decentralized plants. In the second part of the event, the panel discussion made up of William Sheng, Sales Director of CSUN, Armin Schöntag, Marketing Manager of Lightway Solar, Svenja Bartels, partner at Rödl & Partner as well as Ennio De Lorenzo, Representative of Eurosolar Italia debated a variety of issues with the audience.
Visitors and the panelists discussed what is needed to ensure the sustainable development of the small scale segment. Both industry stakeholders as well as investors are called on here. Participants considered the most important factor to be the fact that a change in attitude is necessary within the Italian community. An investment in a photovoltaic plant should not only be seen from a yield perspective, but must also be seen as an ecological investment with long term benefits such as energy saving, which in turn brings economic advantages. In addition, and often underestimated, is the advantage in lower running costs compared to conventional energy systems. However, Italian installers will be faced with the challenge of integrating and getting organized in networks with manufacturers and other installers to exploit advantages such as sales support.