Utility-Scale photovoltaic systems: criticalities and opportunities

Moroni & Partners supports investors and developers with its Technical Advisory services during the all phases of the project development, to minimize all the possible technical and authorization risks.

In the recent months, thanks to the decrease in CAPEX, the use of increasingly efficient technologies and high solar irradiation values, Italy has returned to be a leader in the market of utility-scale photovoltaic systems with several GW in development throughout the Country.

Even if the energy prices have seen a huge drop due to the necessary restrictions set to contrast the sanitary emergency, now they are rising sharply.

But what are the main critical issues for the development of Utility-Scale projects?

The Italian authorization procedures are particularly complex and according to the different location and constraints that may affect the project, they involve different entities. In fact, even if the new authorization procedure called PAUR (Single Regional Authorization Procedure) guarantees the subject who submits the authorization request peremptory deadlines and a more efficient and coordinated management of the procedure compared to the ordinary one, conflicts of competence between the Italian Regions and the individual Provinces are still frequent.

Consequently, the response times of the bodies involved are particularly long: in some regions they can even reach two years.

A further criticality in this perspective can be represented by the choice of technologies to be used in the project during the development phase: technological progress is much faster than the authorization procedures and the risk that the authorized project could contains components (especially modules, inverters and trackers) no longer on the market or with inadequate efficiency values is very high. Sometimes, this situation is the reason why is necessary to make changes in the already authorized project, with additional time pressure and risks associated with the re-opening of the authorization process.  

Another issue of interest is related to the use and consumption of land, very often agricultural, which is seen as a critical issue in terms of environmental and social impact by the bodies responsible to assess the authorization. In order to mitigate this criticality, agro-photovoltaic solutions that allow the combined use of land for both agricultural and energy production activities, are now a continuously developing and consolidated reality.

Particularly complex is also the procedure for the connection to the power grid where it is necessary to design and authorize power lines, in some cases several kilometres long, the same for HV/MV substations, with a consequent increase in time and costs.

Moving under such a complex and articulated framework requires choices and strategies aimed at minimizing the risks of delay or even refusal of authorization. The choice of a suitable land without environmental constraints, the implementation of effective environmental mitigation solutions (even with agro-photovoltaic solutions), the identification of an optimal connection solution and a far-sighted choice of technologies are certainly the key factors to achieve the success of the project in the shortest possible time.

Find out more on Moroni & Partners

Moroni & Partners supports investors and developers with its Technical Advisory services during the all phases of the project development, supervising and proposing project optimization solutions, to minimize technical and authorization risks.

In the same way, through the Engineering division, Moroni & Partners carries out the Engineering and Owner Engineering services necessary for the correct setup and design of the photovoltaic plant and acts as an expert and reliable partner with all the bodies involved in the process of construction and commissioning

Find out more on Moroni & Partners
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