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Solar power expansion in Italy: 5.23 GW of new capacity boosts growth to over 30 GW


According to the trade association Italia Solare, as of December 31, 2023, Italy witnessed a remarkable increase in photovoltaic (PV) energy, with a total connected capacity exceeding 30 GW, more than doubling the connected power compared to the previous year. The number of installed PV systems reached an impressive 1,594,974, marking a significant milestone in the country's renewable energy landscape.

Residential, commercial, and industrial sectors drive growth

The robust growth in 2023 is primarily attributed to the residential and commercial-industrial (C&I) sectors, accounting for 43% and 35% of the connected power, respectively. The utility-scale sector also experienced notable expansion, contributing 22% to the total connected power. This surge represents an 85% increase in the number of connected systems and a staggering 111% increase in connected power compared to 2022.

Superbonus and energy price surge propel connections

Italia Solare explained the two key factors that have driven this impressive growth: the Superbonus mechanism and a surge in energy prices. The Superbonus incentive, coupled with rising energy costs, incentivized both residential and industrial consumers to adopt PV systems. The industrial sector, in particular, witnessed a delayed impact of 6-9 months from the time energy prices started to rise, showcasing a lag in bidding and plant realization.

"The increase in energy prices has had an important effect on the connections of industrial photovoltaic plants, with a hysteresis due to the time lag between the request for bids and the realization of the plant," explained Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of Italia Solare.

In addition, the last quarter of 2023 witnessed a significant uptick in connections for large-scale installations, with eight photovoltaic plants exceeding 10 MW connected, totaling 341 MW. December alone accounted for 227 MW, indicating a robust finish to the year. This surge suggests a potential steady growth trajectory for utility-scale connections in the coming years.

Lombardy leads regional rankings

At the regional level, Lombardy emerged as the leader, surpassing 4 GW of cumulative connected power, thanks to 907 MW of new connections in 2023. Veneto and Emilia-Romagna also crossed the 3 GW threshold, while Puglia maintained a competitive position with 3.30 GW. Lombardy continues to lead in the number of plants, followed closely by Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

The majority of C&I and utility-scale plants are concentrated in central and southern Italy, with Lazio boasting the largest number of utility-scale plants at 920 MW. Puglia leads in C&I plants with a connected power of 1,638 MW, followed by Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna.

North dominates 2023 connections

On the other hand, Italia Solare's analysis of the connections made in 2023 reveals that the northern regions accounted for most of the C&I sector's power, with 67% (1,214 MW), followed by central Italy with 20% (363 MW) and the southern regions with the remaining 13% (242 MW). The North also dominated in the 1 MW < P < 10 MW size category, hosting 70% of the total connected power for this range.

Promising future for utility-scale connections

The surge in utility-scale connections, especially in the last quarter of 2023, suggests a promising future for large-scale PV installations. Elemens data from 2019 to 2023 indicates that more than 12 GW of large plants have been authorized, with over 2/3 of the capacity yet to be constructed.

Italy's remarkable achievements in PV installations in 2023 underscore the nation's commitment to sustainable energy and set the stage for continued growth in the renewable sector.

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