Some more numbers in Italy

Italy is the country of sunshine, not only in its popular songs and in the image of Italy that all the tourists have, but also from the point of view of energy. In Italy, mean annual solar radiation ranges from 3.6 kWh per square metre per day in the Po river plain area, to 4.7 kWh per square metre per day in Central-Southern Italy, to 5.4 kWh per square metre per day in Sicily: as a consequence  some regions have a very high production potential, even though the entire national territory actually has very favourable conditions for the installation of solar energy production plants. Italy is one of the leading countries for the production of solar energy, and it is in the vanguard also in the sector of research and technological innovation.
Starting from 2007, the year in which a boom in solar energy was recorded in Italy, growth has never stopped. In 2016 in fact, a 2% increase in installed power, compared to 2015, was recorded. According to GSE – Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (the Italian company for electric services) there were 732,053 solar power plants operating in Italy in 2016 (+6.4% compared to 2015) with an installed power equal to 19,283 MW.
In particular, out of the 732,053 plants, the 58%  has power ranging from 3 to 20 kW. In 2016, the small sized plants (<3 kW) were 245,293,  with an installed power equal to 670 MW. The average sized plants, from 20 kW and 1 MW, reached 10,638 units, for a total installed capacity amounted to 7,296 MW, while the large plants, with power over 1 MW, reached 1,142 units, for a total installed capacity amounted to 4,177 MW.
In 2016, the Lombardy region was reconfirmed in the leading position for the number of plants (109,108 units) followed by the Veneto region (99,486 units) and the Emilia Romagna region (74,873 units). The regions that showed the greatest growth rates in terms of number  of plants, were the Liguria region (+8.3%) and the Lazio region (+8.3%). In terms of power, instead, the leading region is the Puglia region (2,623  MW), followed by the Lombardy region (2,178 MW) and the Emilia Romagna region (1,936  MW). The most relevant variations, compared to the previous year, with regard to the installed power were recorded in the Calabria region (+4%) and in Campania (+3.9%). (NOTE: the largest number of photovoltaic plants recorded in the Northern and Central regions is to be attributed to the high density of the inhabitants in these regions).
44% of the installed capacity is in the North, 38% is in the South, and 18% is in the Central part of Italy. In particular the Puglia region, with 13.6% has the largest amount of installed power, followed by Lombardy (11.3%) and Emilia Romagna (10%). The map of the provinces showing the percentage distribution of the power, highlights the substantial contribution of some Provinces in the North: Cuneo, Brescia, Ravenna and Turin with 2.9%, 2.2% and 2% respectively of the total 19,283  MW. In Southern Italy, Lecce with 3.6% supplies the largest amounts on a national scale. In the Regions in Central Italy, the provinces that stand out are Rome and Viterbo  with 2.2% and 2% respectively.
However, an analysis of the numbers, alone, is not sufficient to illustrate the photovoltaic sector in Italy and to identify the more “virtuous” and “sunny” regions. Observing the data, we must bear in mind the population density in the regions, which is very high in Lombardy and very low in regions such as Trentino Alto Adige, Valle d’Aosta, Basilicata and Molise.
GSE periodically publishes the data of the photovoltaic plants in Italy and an atlas which indicates all the photovoltaic power plants in Italy (ATLASOLE).
(Source: GSE, Rapporto statistico “Energia da Fonti Rinnovabili in Italia – 2016”)

Special reports

From the Multimedia section


  • 16 May 2011

    Bio-climatic architecture

    Solar energy is playing a vital role with reference to bioclimatic architecture...

  • The photovoltaic train

    In Italy the PVTRAIN project by Trenitalia (co-financed by the European Union) plans...

  • The plant of Almeria

    In the Tabernas desert, 30 km north-east of the Andalusia town of Almeria (Spain)...