Presentation on theme: "Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Solar power in southern Italy David Redfern Fotolia."— Presentation transcript:
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Solar power in southern Italy David Redfern Fotolia
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy What this presentation covers The rapid expansion of solar energy in southern Italy during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The reasons for this expansion. The issues it raises for national government, developers and local people. The measures that have been taken to address these issues. The lessons that can be learnt by other countries seeking to expand energy supply from renewable sources.
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Claudiozacc/Fotolia
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Subsidies and growth of solar Italy has had a boom in solar power plants, particularly in the south. A subsidy plan introduced in 2005 gave suppliers of solar electricity a ‘feed-in’ tariff, paying them for the electricity produced and fed into the grid. This tariff was at first as high as €490/MWh — 8 times more than the average cost of €59/MWh and more generous than the subsidy in other European countries. It has since declined. The tariff was guaranteed for 20 years. Subsidy by country
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Solar capacity in Italy By June 2013: A total of 16.8 GW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity from 511,588 systems had been installed under the government’s feed-in tariff scheme. Some of these are quite small. A further 1,819 systems with a combined capacity of 528 MW were registered to the scheme but not yet operational. Source: Beforeitsnews.com Italian solar installations The feed-in tariff subsidies are estimated to have cost the Italian government €4 billion in 2010 and €35 billion over a 10 year period.
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Where are the solar farms? Southern Italy has a natural advantage with high levels of insolation (irradiation, see map). Extensive areas of farmland and roofs of buildings have been covered with solar panels. Many say this has created unsightly blots on the landscape. Areas covered by olive trees cannot be converted to solar farms as each tree is electronically tagged and monitored. (In Apulia there are rumours that some trees, roots and all, have been moved in the night to ‘free up’ land for solar panels.)
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Impacts The cost of electricity for domestic customers has increased. In March 2012, the price of electricity went up by 9.8%, of which 6.3% could be attributed to the cost of incentives for renewable energy such as solar power. Some Italians believe that consumers are paying for the subsidies. Further increases have since taken place. Most solar power installations are in the south of Italy, whereas much of the demand is in the north. This has led to congestion on high voltage cables to the north. Major disruptions to supply have occurred. There is some evidence of local corruption. In Sicily, in 2010, one businessman who had invested heavily in solar power had €1.5 billion assets confiscated. It was stated that he was using the solar power subsidy to launder money for both the Mafia and 'Ndrangheta organised crime groups.
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Recent events In March 2013 the Italian government announced a stop to further subsidies for solar energy. Under a new strategy, it stopped offering any additional financial support once the incentive programme his its cap of €6.7 billion in 2013 (this was reached in June 2013). A new system has come into force – net metering – as an alternative to the feed- in tariff. This mechanism grants the owners of solar panels 'credits' to use towards their energy bills if excess energy they produce is fed back into the national grid. It only kicks in after they have used what they need first. The government action has already affected the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers as demand has fallen dramatically. Unsold PV panels from Italy are expected to flood the market, driving down PV prices in other countries over coming months.
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy Factors affecting further development With financial subsidies from the Italian government coming to an end, what factors might encourage further development of solar power in southern Italy? High levels of irradiation Falling costs of PV equipment Rising costs of domestic electricity from the national grid Developments in the storage of solar energy Access to finance – but at a time of economic recession, how confident can people be that this will happen?
Global Digital Divide Solar power in southern Italy A bright future for the Italian solar market? ‘Italy will be one of the countries where solar will remain one of the most attractive. Solar makes sense because of a combination of factors — it is a sunny country and electricity prices are high.’ Marie Latour, senior national policy advisor at the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) ‘In Italy, thanks to a good insolation belt and quite high electricity prices, solar installations must continue to be attractive. For many...installations, especially domestic ones, we are still far from achieving parity and for this reason we still need support.’ Paolo Gianese, general secretary of the Italian solar association Industrie Fotovoltaiche Italiane (IFI) ‘Good riddance to the eyesores that have only drained the pockets of consumers.’ Pierre Gosselin, creator of NoTricksZone, a climate-change sceptic blog