Italy's green transition efforts held back by lack of big solar projects

(Reuters, 6 Mar 2024) Italy's energy transition is building on a myriad of solar panels mounted on roofs, but the country has installed far fewer large plants than its neighbours, data seen by Reuters show, signalling hurdles on Rome's path to decarbonisation.

Italy has added big solar farms worth 6 gigawatts (GW) since 2016, significantly less than Germany and Spain, where more than 20 GW of new capacity has been installed by building plants with a size of at least 1 MW, data from sector association SolarPower Europe show.

Brussels has set a carbon emission reduction target for Rome of 43.7% by 2030, but the right-wing government of Giorgia Meloni has already admitted that Italy is not on track to reach that goal. To do so, experts estimate the country needs around 12 GW of new green capacity every year by 2030. With solar the country's largest source of renewable energy, that is hard to achieve without boosting the number of big photovoltaic plants.

"There is no way we can install 12 GW per year only through small plants," said Agostino Re Rebaudengo, head of Italy's sector lobby Elettricita Futura, adding a large solar park produces three times the energy of a rooftop plant with the same investment. Italy has deployed around 22 GW in small plants, including a multitude of rooftop panels, since 2016 - more than France, Spain and the Netherlands - thanks in part to incentives for home improvements that are now being phased out.

External link

Reuters, 6 Mar 2024: Italy's green transition efforts held back by lack of big solar projects