Floating solar and wind farms are power production installations mounted on structures or platforms that float on a body of water. In a country such as Italy, where the targets to produce electricity from green sources are ambitious and must coexist with the need to safeguard agriculture and the landscape, floating solar and wind installations present a new but challenging opportunity.
According to a recent Lazio Regional Administrative Court ruling, before reaching a decision on the revocation of incentives, the Energy Services Operator must confirm whether the renewables exception set out in Article 42(3) of Legislative Decree 28/2011 applies (ie, the plant in question must have received incentives when the violation was verified) and assess the size of the reduction with regard to the extent of the violation detected.
The use of corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) looks set to increase in Italy. Corporate PPAs are contracts between buyers and power producers to purchase electricity at a pre-agreed price for a pre-agreed period. As the market for the development of subsidy-free renewable energy projects grows, corporate PPAs are expected to become a common part of the energy and sustainability strategies of Italian corporates.
The Regional Administrative Court of Sardinia recently annulled the regional authority's decision to revoke authorisation for the construction and operation of a photovoltaic (PV) plant on the rooftops of agricultural greenhouses following its alleged loss of status as an agricultural company. The decision confirms that the lack of qualification as a professional agricultural entrepreneur should not jeopardise the right to operate PV plants and receive incentive tariffs on the production of renewable energy.
Repowering is the process of replacing an energy plant's original components with new ones and reconfiguring the layout in order to boost the plant's yield. Given that the regulatory framework in this regard is ambiguous, repowering works are innovative and the case law on such matters contains gaps, energy producers seeking to repower their plants are advised not to start the simplified deemed-consent procedure without obtaining prior clearance from the competent authorities.
Even after the retrospective cut in renewable energy incentives in Italy, the acquisition of operating solar photovoltaic (PV) plants under the right conditions still provides strong financial returns to investors. Nonetheless, irrespective of a project's financing structure or size, there are risks associated with such transactions which buyers should be aware of during the due diligence process.