On 13 August the Italian Parliament enacted Law no. 129 which, under certain conditions, protects any photovoltaic (PV) projects that were authorised under regional legislation by the simplified “start of works” declaration (dichiarazione di inizio attività , or DIA) despite a nominal peak power exceeding 20 kilowatts (kW).
The law comes as a response to various decisions by the Italian Constitutional Court in the past months, which had declared the procedural regulations of certain regions (Apulia, Calabria and Molise) illegitimate. These regulations unilaterally allowed for the authorisation of 1 megawatt (MW) or 500 kW projects by means of a simple DIA, thereby contradicting Federal Law no. 387/2003, which requires a lengthy autorizzazione unica procedure for PV projects above 20 kW (see On the Subject, 29 March 2010). The Constitutional Court's decisions caused significant uncertainty in the market as to the validity and risks of PV projects previously authorised by DIAs in these and other regions, and were widely perceived as an obstacle to investments in such projects.
Law no. 129/2010, which was immediately published in the Official Gazette and entered into force on 19 August has now resolved this uncertainty. It provides for the replacement of Article 1 of Law Decree no. 105 of 8 July 2010 and protects all projects that meet the following two requirements:
- The projects were authorised by means of a DIA in conformity with the regional law applicable (albeit illegitimate) at the time
- The plants started operating within 150 days of entry into force of the new law (i.e., by 16 January 2011)