• Italia Solare says 1 out of 5 solar companies in Italy at risk of shutting down or facing bankruptcy in the face of pandemic related lockdown
  • Companies responding to its survey claim there has been major contraction in incoming orders
  • They fear culling jobs to stay afloat if things don’t improve and demand urgent measures from the government
  • Easing of permitting procedure in the country that is at the mercy of bureaucracy is something the government needs to urgently look at, the industry demands

Italian solar association Associazione Italia Solare has found 1 in 5 PV companies in the country are at the risk of either shutting business or bankruptcy due to the prolonged lockdown triggered by COVID-19 pandemic. One of the worst countries impacted by the virus in Europe, Italy’s solar sector is seeing a significant drop in orders, the association claims.

Assessing results of its latest research that has come almost 2 months after it first conducted its first survey to ascertain the solar sector’s health, Italia Solare says of the 500 responses received 32% have reported a contraction in new orders between 75% and 100% compared to last year. The survey’s 40% respondents said orders had contracted between 25% and 74%, and the remaining 29% by up to a quarter.

The survey, to which PV system installers, designers, distributors, material manufacturers, EPC/General Contractors/O&M and system developers responded, sees the health emergency leading to possible job loss in the industry as 72% of the respondents said they may have to reduce staff by up to 25%. Another 16% expect to drop the staff numbers by up to 50%, and 12% see the numbers going to more than half of their workforce.

In the current situation, companies are not too hopeful of their business prospects for the remainder of the year. The survey shows 70% of the respondents expect a drop in orders for 2020 to between 25% and 75%. Compared to the association’s survey 2 months back, the percentage of those who expect a contraction in their business of more than 75% has come down.

The industry is now demanding some urgent measures to be taken by the government to help it overcome the crisis including easing permitting process for new PV plants, starting with agrivoltaic ground mounted projects as well as for revamping and repowering existing plants, helping small and medium enterprises with credit availability, among others.

“The results of our second survey show that the solar industry is living through a major crisis, but at the same time we are confident that it can start again quickly, but only if action is taken quickly and effectively,” said Italia Solare President, Paolo Rocco Viscontini. “More than incentives, solar businesses are calling for a reduction in bureaucracy, which is the real obstacle for the sector. Getting out of this difficult period is possible and must be done by focusing on green development, the real engine for the future of the country.”