Rome, Italy — Italy officially reported this week that 1,850 MW of new solar photovoltaics (PV) systems were installed in 2010, substantially exceeding industry estimates.
Gesore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) added that data is still coming in for 2010 and that the total installed capacity through 2010 may reach 3,000 MW from 150,000 systems.
Italy installed 711 MW of solar PV in 2009, 340 MW in 2008, and only 60 MW in 2007.
GSE says that there are an additional 4,000 MW of solar PV from 55,000 systems in the pipeline that potentially will bring total installed capacity to 7,000 MW.
Italy’s 2020 target for solar PV is 8,000 MW.
Though there are no official statistics available on solar installations in the USA, industry sources estimate that as much as 800 MW and possibly up to 900 MW of solar PV were installed in 2010.
If true, it appears that Italy with 60 million inhabitants installed three times more solar PV in 2010 than the entire USA with its 330 million people.
Within three years Italy installed 1,000 MW more solar PV capacity than was installed in the USA during the past thirty years.
Italy’s rapid development of solar PV has been driven by its system of feed-in tariffs, Conto Energia, that pays for every kilowatt-hour generated by solar panels whether owned by homeowners, small businesses, or the Vatican.
Under Italian conditions, 3,000 MW of solar PV is capable of generating from 3 TWh per year to 4 TWh per year, equivalent to ~1% of the country’s electricity consumption.