The Italian Almanac

solar panels

Italian News - August 25

Italy is blessed with some of Europe's most brilliant sun and cursed with some of its highest electricity rates, but the nation has long lagged behind its more inclement neighbors in harnessing energy from the sun's rays. But the government, hoping to cash in on Italy's most abundant natural resource, is trying to change that. It approved incentives this summer that could see solar panels blooming on Italy's rooftops like bougainvillea on sun-kissed terraces.

The measures could mean that Italian homeowners, condominium buildings and private businesses can profit by selling solar power to energy companies at a handsome, government-guaranteed price. Under the incentive system, approved last month, surplus energy produced by photovoltaic panels can be sold at triple the average rate set by electricity giants like Enel and Edison or by local energy distributors.

The fledging incentives are similar to arrangements long used in Germany, which had more than 100,000 photovoltaic units as of 2004. Spain and Greece, two Mediterranean countries known for sunny climes, also outstrip Italy in solar energy production.