Grid Connected Solar Electric System

3442 words (14 pages) Essay in Environmental Sciences

23/09/19 Environmental Sciences Reference this

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Italy, officially known as Italian Republic, is a country in Europe. It is situated in the heart of Mediterranean Sea with an area of 301,340 sq. m (116,350 sq. mi), and shares an open border with San Marino, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, France and Vatican City. Italy is the 4th most populated country in Europe. Italy is now recognized as one of the world’s most economically as well as culturally developed countries. They are ranked eighth largest in the world according to their economy ranking. The economy of the country is dominated by agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology and tourism [1].


“Italy has electric generation capacity of 69 million kilowatts” [3].  More than 80% of the electricity is produced from the thermoelectric and the rest 20% is covered by hydro power, photovoltaic, wind and solar (renewable resources) out of which 10% of the gross domestic energy have been contributed by the hydropower generation plants. With the passage of time, Italy has shifted their mind more towards renewable resources resulting in 23% reduction of energy produced by the hydropower. [2]

The graph confirms the fact that Italy has been benefited with the excessive amount of sunlight that can be noticeable in most parts of the country i.e. Rome, Palermo etc. that can be taken into consideration and can be utilized to generate electricity. Due to this richly gifted source, Italy’s government have made solar technologies as their top most priority and they fund almost one-fourth of the photovoltaic research [3].

Figure 2: Primary energy consumption in Italy

From the above graph, we can see the power energy consumption trend up to 2014. From 2000 to 2005, we can see the increase in the energy consumption (6.4%). 2005 is the only year in which the consumption was the highest i.e. 197,776 ktoe. From 2005 onwards, we can observe a decrease in the consumption, especially in 2009 where the consumption dropped to 180,343 ktoe which is equal to 5.7% decrease. It was because of the economic crisis which hit the industrialized countries. There was a slight increase in the consumption in the 2010 (2.7% increase as compare to 2009) and after that there has been no improvement [4].

Energy resources of Italy are shown in the figure below:

Italy generates electricity through coal, solar, wind, natural gas and by oil reserves. The main sources of generating electricity for Italy is by Natural Gas. Italy is committed to end the use coal in power generation making them the fourth country in the world to make a coal free future. [5]


The price of electricity in Italy is increasing day by day, for an average 3 bed house the electricity cost is €0.230per kWh. The amount has drastically increased by 19% from 2010, pays the highest cost of electricity in Europe due to taxes. Italy pays 58% of price as a tax whereas UK only pays 4% as a tax, this makes Italy expensive in terms of electricity cost. [6]

Figure 3:Electricity Prices in Europe 2017

The graph shows the statistics of the electricity prices for the household from the year 2010 to 2017. On average it is shown that household payed 21.42-euro cents per kWh during these 7 years. [7]

Similarly, the cost of electricity for the industrial use for the the years 2008 and 2016, was around 17.8 euro per kilowatt hours for less than 2,000 MWh.


Italy’s Electricity gets its huge share from the renewable resources be it hydro or solar. In 2017, 36.4% of the energy was generated through renewable energies. Since the last 4 years, the generation of electricity through photovoltaics has increased 24% of the total renewable electricity whereas hydropower means has dropped from 50% to 36.3%.

Currently, in the year 2018, the power output increased by 17% i.e. from 51MW to 60.MW with the help of photovoltaics. There are some newly PV plants installed for residential use whose power output does not exceed more than 20kW. This states that the PV market is still run by the rooftop business. If the industrial sector is considered, it can produce the total capacity of 10.9MW. To enhance PV industry, Italian government should initiate large scale solar projects. [8]

In one of the magazines it was stated that few initiatives are said to be taken by the government of Italy to promote PV industry and they are:

1)     1 MW project should be linked to the 300kW charging station but now with the minimal capacity of 15kW.

2)     The eroded soil or polluted soil that is good for nothing, that area should be used to create PV power plant. He further said that the developers should be granted more time to work on the rehabilitation of that land before working on it.

He stated ““We believe that the solar sector needs continuous innovation, and that new technologies, such as bifacial panels among others should be promoted now.” [9]

Some of the major solar companies are as under:

Tages Helios Technology

EF Solare Italia

Enel Green Power


RTR Energy




  • The SunEdison Photovoltaic Power Plant

SunEdison Renewable Energy plant was built with the help of photovoltaic plants, located in Vento situated in the north-east of Italy. The construction of the plant was started in March 2010 and it started operating in the November,2010. This solar plant is the largest installation in Italy and one of its kind in Europe as a single site solar farm, producing around 70MW of output power, which can easily provide energy to 17,150 homes.  The plant is built on a land covering an area of around 850,000m sq., and use 280,000 flat solar panels and 58 steel poles to generate the output power. The key point of this solar power plant is that t reduces the carbon dioxide emission. [10]



Plant Operator


Plant Owner

Site area

Photovoltaic plant (solar power plant)

Rovigo, Italy



First Reserve

850,000m sq.

  • Montalto di Castro Solar Power Plant:

Montalo di Castro is the considered to be the largest installments in Italy. In one of the case studies Salvatore Carai, the mayor of Montalto di Castro said that, “The construction in our region of the largest generating photovoltaic plant in the world is a great source of pride for the entire municipality. Thanks to SunPower, we are pursuing a development model that provides social and educational benefits to the whole community.” [11]



System size

Annual Energy Production

Number of Panels

Covered surface area

Montalo di Castro Solar Power Plant


84MW (dc)



166 hectares

This plant was the work of SunPower in collaboration with community of Montalto di Castro and was completed in the December 2010. The carbon emission saved due to this plant per year is more than 70,000tons, promoting environmental awareness in the community. This plant is enough to provide energy to 2,700 households with an installed capacity of 6MW [11]

Figure 6: Montalto di Castro Solar Power Plant [11]

  • Serenissima Solar Park:

Serenissima PV plant is in Venice, Italy, occupying around 150 hectares of the land. This plant produces an output capacity of 48MW with its own transformer and substations. It contains 200,000 PV modules along with 1,160km of cables and 2,700 tons of steel. Moreover, it consists of 44 substations sized 1MW with 3 inverter each. It is Flat-panel type PV and the owner of this plant is BNP Clean Energy. [12]


Italy is the leading countries in term of manufacturing of PV modules, some of the modules manufactured in Italy are as under:

1)     IS75P- 12V:

IS75P-12V is manufactured by Istar Solar s.r.l. company whose headquarter is situated in Italy. This module is a monocrystalline, having a Panel Dimension (H/W/D) of 785x675x35mm and weighing 8.3kg. It consists of 36 cells, providing the maximum power output of 75W with a panel efficiency of 14.2%. This module comes with a 10-year product warranty and 12 years warranty of 90% output power. [13]

2)     SG350M

The module SG350M is made by the Peimar company in Italy. This module consists of 72(6×12) cells, with a dimension of 1967x992x40mm and weighs 22.5kg. Some of the module electrical characteristics are:

Module Efficiency =18.03%, Nominal Output= 350W, Voc= 46.2V, Isc= 9.94A and Maximum System Voltage= 1500V. The company offers 30 years Linear Power Warranty along with 20 years product warranty. [14]

3)     XM60/156-300 I+SR:

XM60/156-300 I+SR, Is the PV module manufactured by an Italian company named Sunergy Solar S.r.l. producing a maximum power of 300W. The Panel consists of 60 cells sizing 156x156mm, with the module dimension 1691x1017x32mm weighing 20kg. It gives the panel efficiency of 17.44% with Voc= 39.9V and Isc= 9.51A. The company provides 10-years product warranty and 10 years of 90% power output warranty. [15]

PV inverters:

1)     DLS 300:

DLS 300 is manufactured by Delios Srl an Italian company, providing a power range of 3 to 6kW. [16]

General data about the inverter is as under:



Power Consumption at night

Operating Temperature


710x650x150 mm


<4 W

-25 to +60 deg C

5 years

Electrical data:

Max AC Power

Max. Efficiency

MPP(T) Voltage Range

No. of MPP Trackers

Rated DC Voltage

3 kW


100-500 V



2)     STL-200:

STL-200 is an On-grid type inverter manufactured by Selco Energy, which is situated in Italy, providing the power range between 2.2to 4.4 kW. Some of the useful data of the inverter are as under: [17]

Max AC Power

Max. Efficiency

MPP(T) Voltage Range

No. of MPP Trackers

Rated DC Voltage

Euro Efficiency

2.2 kW


100-550 V




The company provides the minimum product warranty of 5years. [17]

3)     Soleil 90 TLH:

Soleil 90 TLH, an On-Grid type inverter is manufactured by the parent company SIEL S.p.A., situated in Trezzano Rose-Milan in Italy, provides the power range between 72-660kW. The dimensions of the inverter are 1950x820x110 mm operating at a temperature ranging between -5 to +50deg C. The electrical properties are as under: [18]

Max AC Power

Max DC Power

Max. Efficiency

MPP(T) Voltage Range

No. of MPP Trackers

Max.  DC Voltage

72 kW



330-700 V





The Italian Ministry of Economics Develop in the year 2014 passed 2 3 decrees for the energy sector:

  • A fixed monthly premium equal to 90% of the plant’s production is provided to the owner on top of the electricity market.
  • A Feed in Tariff should be paid after the 24years of the first production from the plant, and will be recalculated again for the next 24 years. [19]
  • Another way was that Feed in Tariff was paid less in the first 20-year period and then it was made higher to meet the difference. [19]
  •  Feed in Tariff paid over the 20years will be reduced to 6% for the plants producing power capacity between 200-500 kW, 7% that is producing power capacity between 500 to 900kW, similarly 8% for the plants producing above 900kW. [19]


Solar energy is Italy has several advantages i.e. easily accessible, free etc., along with it it has some disadvantages as well. In Italy, it has been observed that the procedures for grid connection are very lengthy and complicated and the people who are responsible are not well trained or they have insufficient staff to work on the project which results in reaching the deadlines. Another reason for delaying is that they are using old time-consuming methods that needs to be improved. These problems are also been reported in Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. Virtual saturation is a kind of problem which arises when all the available grid capacity is occupied by the plans and this problem has been notified in Italy at a very large scale. [20]


Yes, I personally think that PV scope in Italy is larger because the solar irradiation is very high in most part of Italy besides this in the recent report the Italian govt have promoted the PV system a lot by saying that all the lands which are not fit for agriculture or industrial purposes should be used for the PV power plant and moreover Italy is considered to be the second largest in production

Italy is still the largest renewable energy source and it is said that there will be an auction for the large scale solar and wind that will bring 4.8GW of new capacity. And in the same report it is also mention that in Jan 2019 there will be a first auction planned 500MW of capacity. considering all the facts and figure, setting up the PV plant in Italy is beneficial for the country. Also, Italian govt has also emphasized that they will be announcing a new energy strategy from which they will be generating 30GW of electricity from solar by the end of 2030. [9]

























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