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Italy: Euro 6.7 billion Cap for Photovoltaic Incentives Reached

by Carsten Steinhauer and Riccardo Narducci

On June 6, 2013, the Italian Authority for Electricity and Gas (AEEG) announced that the overall annual expense cap of €6.7 billion for incentive payments payable to photovoltaic (PV) plants in Italy has been reached.

As a consequence, the latest feed-in tariff (FiT) regulation—the Conto Energia V—will cease to apply on July 6, 2013, i.e., 30 days from the AEEG’s announcement.  PV plants that connected to the grid and started operations before July  6 will remain entitled to the currently applicable FiTs, as long as the relevant application is filed with the Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) before July 6.  Any application received after July 6 will be rejected.

The July 6 deadline also relates to PV plants installed on public land or public buildings that, pursuant to Section 1, Paragraph 425 of Legislative Decree no. 3584/2012 (the Stability Decree 2013), were entitled to an extension of the FiTs under the Conto Energia IV  (see our Hot Topic from January 3, 2013).

Exceptions

Notwithstanding the Euro 6.7 billion cap being reached, certain PV projects are exempted from the 6 July deadline:

  1. PV plants that are included in the first or second GSE register under Conto Energia V remain entitled to the Conto Energia V FiT and can apply to the GSE even after July 6, 2013, provided they start operations within one year of the publication of the register.
  2. Special extensions also apply to PV plants that are located in certain Municipalities in the regions of Emilia Romagna and Lombardy, which were struck by earthquakes on May 20 and May 29 2012:

a)  Roof top PV plants that started operating prior to the earthquakes remain entitled to the applicable FiT rate, even if they have to be rebuilt.

b) PV plants that were authorized on or before 30 September 2012, but had not started operating before the earthquakes, remain entitled to the FiT provided by the Conto Energia IV for the first semester 2012, provided they start operations before December 31 2013.

c) PV plants located on agricultural land are only entitled to the extension in b) above if the projects were authorised on or before March 25, 2012.  They must still conform with the limits set forth under Article 10, Sections 4 and 5 of Legislative Decree no. 28/2011.

Finally, it is worth noting that the 6 July deadline does not apply to PV plants that applied for incentives or to be included in the registers but were rejected unlawfully.  In these cases, where the applicant wins the appeal against the GSE, they will benefit from the FiT and the timelines provided under the Regulations as they were in force at the time of application.  




Conto Energia IV Deadline Extended for Photovoltaic Plants on Public Administration Property

by Carsten Steinhauer

On 20 December 2012, the Italian Chamber of Deputies approved Legislative Decree no. 228/2012, known as the Stability Decree 2013.  Section 1, paragraph 425 of the Stability Decree 2013 extends the deadline by which photovoltaic (PV) plants built on property belonging to the Public Administration must be connected to the grid in order to benefit from the favourable feed-in tariffs under the Ministerial Decree of 5 May 2011 (the Conto Energia IV).    The transitional rules of Section 1 paragraph 4 of Ministerial Decree of 5 July 2012 (the Conto Energia V) provided that installations on public land or rooftops would  only benefit from the Conto Energia IV feed-in tariffs if they were connected to the grid by 31 December 2012.  The extension of the deadline protects investments made by and with the Public Administration that were unable to meet the 31 December 2012 deadline and would otherwise have defaulted.     Pursuant to the Stability Decree 2013, in order to benefit from the Conto Energia IV tariffs, PV plants installed on public property will now have to be connected to the grid by the following deadlines: 
  • 31 March 2013 for all PV plants that are not subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (Valutazione di impatto ambientale)
  • 30 June 2013 for all PV plants that are subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (Valutazione di impatto ambientale) and have obtained the relevant building permit on or before 31 March 2013
  • 30 October 2013 for all PV plants that are subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (Valutazione di impatto ambientale) and have obtained the relevant building permit after 31 March 2013.
The Stability Decree 2013 does not limit the deadline extensions to property that was owned previously by the Public Administration.  The extensions also apply to projects developed on property that the Public Administration will acquire after the  new rules come into force.    The overall annual expense cap of €6.7 billion for incentive payments payable to PV plants in Italy has not changed.  As a consequence, and notwithstanding the deadline extensions, both the Conto Energia IV and the Conto Energia V will cease to apply 30 days after the announcement by the Italian Authority for Electricity and Gas (AEEG) that the cap has been reached.

 




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