Italy solar capacity seen at 2.5-3.0 GW in 2010: EGP

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy is likely to raise installed photovoltaic capacity to 2,500-3,000 megawatts by the end of 2010 thanks to production incentives, a senior executive at Italy’s biggest renewable energy company said on Thursday.

“We will reach between 2,500 MW and 3,000 MW by the end of this year,” Enel Green Power Executive Vice President Ingmar Wilhelm told a clean energy conference.

Italy’s state energy management agency GSE expects photovoltaic (PV) capacity, converting sunlight into power, to rise to 2,500 MW by the end of 2010 from 1,500 MW at present, a senior GSE official said earlier this week.

Wilhelm declined to comment on plans by Italy’s biggest utility Enel to sell a minority stake in Enel Green Power in October which could be Europe’s biggest IPO this year.

With lower production incentives in the next three years starting from 2011, Italy will reach installed PV capacity of 8,600 MW in 2015 or even 2013, said Wilhelm, who is also president of the European Photovoltaic Association (EPIA).

Investors and solar panel makers have been concerned that an earlier announced cut in production incentives in 2011-2013 would slow growth of the Italian PV market, which has boomed since 2007, when the current incentive scheme was launched.

Italy is expected to produce 100 terawatt hours of power from renewable energy sources by 2020 or about 26-29 percent of electricity demand seen at 350-380 TW/h, as part of the European Union efforts to fight climate change, Wilhelm said.

Sunny and windy Italy would still lag behind Spain which is expected to produce 150 TW/h of power from renewable sources against a smaller demand than in Italy, he added.

Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova