Thursday, 10 May 2012
Italy latest country to cut "incentives" to solar power
The same story everywhere: When governments cut "incentives" (read tax credits and subsidies) to solar power, the market quickly disappears. Now it is the Italian government, which has realized that heavily burden electricity consumers are not what is needed in these times of economic crisis:
Growth of solar power capacity in Italy, the world's second-biggest market, is expected to slow to 1,500-2,500 megawatts in 2012 after a 9,300 MW leap in 2011, due to a planned cut in incentives, a senior industry official said.
"It could be between 1,500 and 2,500 megawatts," Gerardo Montanino, director of operating division at GSE, Italy's green energy incentives management agency, said on the sidelines of a photovoltaic conference in northern Italy on Tuesday.
"It is very difficult to make more precise forecasts when the rules for the sector are changing," Montanino said.
The Italian government has announced a plan to scale back production incentives to the photovoltaic and other renewable energy this year to ease the burden on consumers, who pay for the industry support with their power bills.
A sharp fall in Italy's solar growth is bad news for major solar equipment makers such as Chinese group Suntech Power Holdings, Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy Holding and U.S. firms First Solar and SunPower Corp.
Italian makers of solar power equipment, like their western peers, have been hit hard in the past couple of years by the growing competition from lower cost Asian rivals and may turn to the European Commission for help, the head of Italian PV industry association Comitato IFI said.
"We are considering whether to ask the European Commission to launch an anti-dumping action," Comitato IFI Chairman Alessandro Cremonesi told Reuters.
"But it is a very long process ... it would take at least two years, and the industry cannot wait 24 months," Cremonesi said.
Read the entire article here