In 2011, Italy emerged as the world's top PV market, installing more megawatts than previous leader Germany. However, because the Italian government has now reduced financial incentives – particularly for the large-scale PV plants that were popular last year – smaller-scale installations are expected to be more important.
Adjusting to the new market reality will require a shift in attitude among PV professionals and the Italian community at large, according to industry experts who recently discussed the Italian market at the 3rd PV Briefing and Networking Forum Europe, on May 10 in Verona, Italy.
Commercial rooftop systems and open-field installations made up 60% of Italy's new photovoltaic installations in 2011, says Daniel Christian Quack, a market analyst at Germany-based market research firm EuPD Research, which presented its findings during the networking event.
According to Quack, the planned incentive losses for midsize and large open-space plants, as well as large rooftop plants, in Italy's Conto Energia 5 may lead to a complete downturn of this market segment.
Because plants up to 12 kW are not affected by the cuts to the Conto Energia 5, on the other hand, experts expect an uptick in small projects. The building-integrated PV sector may also benefit, as additional incentives are planned for this technology.
Both industry stakeholders and investors must re-evaluate their perceptions of the benefits of PV in order for the market to survive under Conto Energia 5, event panelists agreed. An investment in a photovoltaic plant must be viewed not only from a financial yield perspective, but also from an ecological and energy-savings perspective.