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07 July 2010

Italy edges forward with solar incentive reforms

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Italy is this week expected to become the latest European country to move forward with reforms to its renewable energy subsidy regime, after it emerged that a crucial meeting to discuss proposals to cut solar energy incentives has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Italy has established itself as one of Europe's fastest-growing solar energy markets in recent years, following the launch of one of the continent's most generous feed-in tariff incentive schemes. However, with the cost of solar panels continuing to fall, the government is keen to emulate Germany and Spain and scale back the level of subsidy when the current version of the incentive scheme expires at the end of this year.

According to reports, the government has prepared draft proposals to cut solar incentives cut by an average of 18 per cent from next year. The planned cuts represent something of a victory for the country's booming solar sector, which feared cuts of up to 25 per cent, and had been warned that such deep cuts would jeopardise jobs and curtail efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Following a series of postponed meetings, the proposals are now scheduled to be discussed tomorrow at a meeting of the Unified Conference of State and Regions, which will have to approve the new plan if it is to go ahead.

Reuters reported that guidelines for approving and running renewable power plants are also on an agenda for the meeting, published on the body's web site.

It is hoped that the meeting will help bring an end to uncertainty surrounding the future of the country's solar energy incentive scheme, which has hampered the expansion plans of some of Europe's largest solar operators.


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