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Italy’s photovoltaic capacity is rising sharply

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Milan, Italy — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 26 November 2010 – Installed photovoltaic capacity in Italy “’ Europe’s third-biggest solar market “’ is likely to rise to 3 000 MW this year, and to add another more than 2 000 MW in 2011.

“This year we’ll have 2 GW installed which, added to about 1 GW in 2009, will bring us to a total capacity of 3 GW,” Gruppo Imprese Fotovoltaiche Italiane (GIFI) chairman Valerio Natalizia told reporters at a briefing.

“In 2011, we believe we will have strong market growth. We’ll have a new incentive plan, but despite falling incentives in the next three years, we can expect more than 2 GW of new installed capacity next year,” Natalizia added.

Italy has cut its generous production incentives to the solar market in 2011 to 2013 to bring them in line with falling prices of photovoltaic systems which turn sunlight into power, and has put a
3 000 MW cap on incentives over three years. Investors and operators are concerned the cuts would slow down market growth.

Italy’s photovoltaic (PV) market has boomed since 2007 when the current incentive scheme was launched, attracting sunny Italy investors from around the world, ranging from Italian families to foreign investment funds and utilities.

“Italy’s installed PV capacity stands at 1 700 MW at present,” its state energy management agency (GSE) said. In September, the GSE forecast that Italy’s PV capacity would rise to 2 500 MW by the end of 2010, and add another 2 000 MW next year.

Natalizia said GSE data could lag by up to 4 to 6 months, compared to actual installed capacity, because of delays companies may have in communicating their capacity to the agency, and the 3 000 MW year-end target was realistic.

He added that the 3 000 MW cap on incentives under the new scheme could be reached in less than two years, and Italy might hit the 8 000 MW target set for PV capacity in 2020 as early as in 2014.

Chinese and other Asian manufacturers of PV modules as well as their U.S. rivals are the main suppliers to Europe, Natalizia said. China’s Suntech Power Holdings, Trina, and Yilgli Green Energy, and America’s First Solar are the main suppliers to Italy, Suntech Power Sales Director for Southern Europe Vincenzo Quintani said.