Italy Issues Fourth Conto Energia: New Feed-In Tariffs for Production of Photovoltaic Energy in 2011 – 2016



The Fourth Conto Energia replaces the incentive system introduced by the Third Conto Energia only nine months ago, originally intended to provide the support system for photovoltaic (PV) plants between 2011 and 2013.

After the Italian Government realised that PV installations in Italy had grown exponentially and the expected cost of the Third Conto Energia, which is borne by consumers through an extra charge on the electricity bill, would have been unsustainable, the Government enacted in March 2011 Legislative Decree no 28/2011 (the so-called Renewables Decree), which imposed on the Ministry of Economic Development the immediate revision of the incentive system.

Like its predecessors, the Fourth Conto Energia provides for a differentiated incentive system, depending on the type and size of the PV system. Incentives have been significantly reduced compared to those provided under the Third Conto Energia. Specific expense budgets have been established for large PV plants for three intervals between June 2011 and December 2012, which shall be enforced through a complex ranking system that will limit the access of large PV plants to the incentives and will be applicable from 1 September 2011. Starting in 2013, pre-established half-yearly expense budgets shall be respected through additional tariff reductions applying to all PV plants based on previous installations. No incentives shall be awarded to PV plants entering into operations after 2016, as the Government apparently expects full grid parity to be reached in 2017. All incentives granted under the Forth Conto Energia shall be paid for a period of 20 years without inflation adjustments.

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