Italy’s Key Energy positions agrivoltaics, utility storage as new market drivers
Italy's leading solar event, Key Energy, was held in the city of Rimini last week, bringing in more visitors than in the past, according to Italian Exhibition Group (IEG).
“Key Energy shows closed their doors today at Rimini Expo Centre with plus-41% in total attendance compared to 2021 (and plus-15% over the record edition of 2019), also recording double foreign attendance (from 90 countries),” the company said, without providing more specific figures.
Italian companies and international solar players are showing greater confidence in the Italian PV market, which is set to regain its gigawatt-size market status, following several years of limited growth.
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“This year, for the first time, there was a new breath of optimism and dynamism,” said Michelangelo Lafronza, the secretary of ANIE Rinnovabili, the Italian renewable energy association. “We believe that the situation we are experiencing throughout Europe has brought renewables into the limelight. The need to reduce energy costs is combined with the need to protect the environment.”
He said that agrivoltaics are becoming a key market driver in the Italian energy landscape.
“According to new data from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition, there are currently 338 agrivoltaic projects totaling 15 GW that are currently under review to secure an environmental impact assessment,” he told pv magazine. “This compares to 140 projects for ground-mounted installations totaling 5.1 GW.”
Lafronza noted that Italian grid operator Terna and the energy regulator, Arera, are currently setting up a new auction scheme for large-scale storage facilities.
“Although is it still unclear if the operators participating to the auctions will also be remunerated for grid services or not, the scheme is raising big expectations in the sector and should trigger more growth,” he said.
He noted that 38 of the 578 projects include storage capacity, for a total of 1,250 GW.
“A regulatory and regulatory framework is finally being created in which there will actually be several tens of GWh of storage systems to be built,” said Daniele Rosati, coordinator of the Utility Scale Storage Systems Group of ANIE Federazione. “This news, together with the presence at the conference of many Italian and foreign sector operators, confirms that Italy is shaping up as one of the most important markets for storage systems worldwide for the next decade:”
The president of Italian association Italia Solare, Paolo Rocco Viscontini, said Key Energy faithfully reflects the current status of the Italian market.
“Solar demand is increasing considerably compared to previous years,” he said. “The main driver remains the current high energy prices.”
Viscontini said he expects around 2 GW of new PV capacity this year.
“But if we will have the typical end of year's peak, we may also have several hundreds of more megawatts,” he said. “Furthermore, from what we heard at the fair, 2023 could be even better, with more than 4 GW of newly installed PV capacity.”
He said the main market drivers will be the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment, which offers a quick and effective solution to increasing or volatile electricity prices, and the large-scale segment, which is expected to see more growth, despite current regulatory barriers.
In light of this growth, IEG has taken the strategic decision to separate the Key Energy event from the broader framework of the Ecomondo circular-economy event.
“Key Energy has matured so much that it is ready to stand on its own two feet,” said Corrado Arturo Peraboni, CEO of IEG. “After 15 editions running alongside Ecomondo, the event will have its own space and will be held in spring with a new format that will, in any case, leverage on the lengthy experience in the sector gained in over a decade of activity. Our goal is to give the new K.EY an increasingly international scope, transforming it into the most important community dedicated to renewables and energy transition in the Mediterranean basin area, thus strengthening our leadership in Europe.”
The next event will simply be called “K.ey” and will be held in Rimini in March.
“For the March 2023 edition, the exhibition area is expected to double with a 30% increase in the number of exhibitor brands present and more than double the number of attendees,” the organizer said, noting that it will also include a Solar Exhibition and Conference for the first time. “The third edition of ForumTech, Italia Solare´s training and information event, will also take place at the same time.”
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