Photovoltaic solar power: the primary source for the Italian energy transition

14 April 2021

Photovoltaics generate sustainable and renewable electric energy. It therefore plays a key role in the energy transition, including the Italian one, and will have to provide a decisive and more relevant contribution – compared to other clean sources –to achieve the decarbonisation targets set for the next decade by the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate 2030 (PNIEC 2030).

PNIEC targets

In fact, one of the binding objectives of the Plan is to achieve a 30% share of renewable energy in the gross final consumptions of energy. To succeed in this endeavor, the power generate from photovoltaic plants should triple and the total installed capacity should reach 52 GW by 2030, after an intermediate milestone of 28,5 GW in 2025.

Renewables, including solar power, have experienced a strong growth in Italy in the last few years. According to the “Renewable energy in Italy” report, by the market authority GSE, at the end of 2019 there were over 893,000 renewable plants installed in Italy, with a 55.5 GW installed capacity and 115.8 TWh generation capacity, enough to account for 39.8% of the total national generation. Photovoltaics had 880,000 installed plants (+20.7% over 2019), with an installed capacity of 20.86 GW (+3.8%) and a yearly generation capacity of 23,69 TWh (+4,6%).

The market challenges and the decisive contribution from utility-scaled plants

The year 2020 has been affected by a general decline of new renewable plants installations, 35% less than in 2019, due to the difficult situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to ANIE Rinnovabili, the only source that saw a raise of installed capacity has been hydro; photovoltaics instead declined 15%, with only 625 MW of new installations. The decrease was especially concentrated in the utility-scale segment, with 130 MW less, while domestic plants benefitted from Superbonus and Ecobonus tax reliefs, introduced with the “Rilancio” Decree. To reach PNIEC goals, Italy should add 4,6 GW of photovoltaics per year on average, a figure that seems highly ambitious at the current growth rate. How can this growth speed be reached? Domestic plants won’t be enough for sure; there should also be a huge number of utility-scaled, ground-based plants, with a capacity over 1 MW.

In the utility-scaled market operates Chiron Energy, one of the main independent producer of renewable energy that develops, builds and manages state-of-the-art energy plants and infrastructures, committed to encouraging the growth of solar power generation in Italy and support the decarbonisation process and the national energy transition.

 

Chiron Energy is an almost new player, but it boost a highly experienced management in the energy industry, with a track record of over 40 renewable plants designed and built, for a total capacity of 130 MW and 400 million Euros invested in the market. The company is focused on designing and building greenfield plants and on acquiring and revamping brownfield plants, with an ambitious target: by 2022 it aims at a total capacity of 50 MW.

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