How the Covid-19 emergency is impacting the Italian photovoltaic industry: three quarters of solar businesses have seen a drop in orders

It seems that no one is immune to Covid-19, not even the Italian solar photovoltaic sector. The fallout of the pandemic is having a clear impact on both supply chains and demand.

ITALIA SOLARE surveyed its members on 11-13 March to understand the effects the Covid-19 emergency is having on the entire photovoltaic value chain and what solutions may be available to deal with the situation post-lockdown.

The survey received responses from PV system installers, designers, distributors, material manufacturers, EPC/General Contractors/O&M and system developers. 

As the Coronavirus started to spread in China, it was feared that a lack of supplies would be the main problem, making it hard to install PV plants even as daily activities continued locally. The situation is totally different today because companies are unable to complete open sites and can’t develop new business either.

The ITALIA SOLARE survey found three quarters of respondents (74%) have seen a drop in orders since the beginning of the crisis, with two out of five of all respondents recording a reduction ranging from 10% to 30%; over 10% of companies answering the survey are having to deal with a decrease in orders of between 70% and 80%. The outlook for the next four months is hardly any more positive; 2 out of 5 respondents expect a drop of more than 50% in orders before the summer.

In terms of prices, 80% of firms have not seen an increase since the beginning of the crisis. Even on a six-monthly perspective there are no particular concerns, with only 7% of respondents predicting a price increase of more than 15% and 35% who estimate a more modest increase of between 5% and 10%.

On the supply side, while half of respondents have not experienced any problems so far, by the end of the first half of the year 79% of businesses estimate that they will face sourcing problems.

Among the main problems encountered during this period is the difficulty in completing current projects, the need to start projects that have already been contracted out and the fact that inspectionscannot be carried out.

To overcome the crisis, solar firms want the government above all to intervene with an increase in the tax credit for companies and an increase in the tax deduction percentage for the installation of PV systems for individuals, but also with non-refundable grants and dedicated funding.

ITALIA SOLARE is organizing a webinar “Impact of Covid-19 on PV in Italy” to discuss the situation, take stock of new regulations affecting the Italian PV industry and hear ITALIA SOLARE’s proposals to support the sector.

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