Italy is the first market in the world for photovoltaics, but the domestic industry is not doing well. The sector is experiencing difficult times, so much so that some companies are laying workers off. As reported in this article, 1250 workers were made redundant in November only in the province of Padua.
So, among the troubled events that led to the fourth energy bill, the economic and credit crisis, the collapse of the price of solar cells and modules, many businesses are now having doubtful debts, which was not expected only about 10-12 months ago during the boom of installations.
But what is the weight of photovoltaics on domestic economy? Below are some charts to get a general idea of the situation (find here a more extensive collection of PV charts and data).
This one, taken from Gifi-Nomisma Energie data, concerns the workers employed in the industry.
Note the rapid growth of workers in the PV industry. At the end of 2010 they amounted to about 18,500 direct employees, reaching over 100,000 units including related activities. Note the average age of less than 35 years. Given the current situation, it is conceivable that in 2011 and 2012 there may be a downturn or a standstill in the growth.
In the chart below (prepared for Qualenergia.it in October 2011 by Vittorio Chiesa, director of the Energy&Strategy Group of Politecnico di Milano), we can see that the weight of Italian industries on the domestic market in various segments of the industry.
As can be seen, nearly three-quarters of installation and distribution are in the hands of Italian companies, but Italian companies are also involved in the production of solar cells and modules installed in Italy, the largest world market in 2011.
This other chart (also by Vittorio Chiesa) refers to the production capacity and the production of solar cells and modules in Italy in 2009 and 2010, with a forecast for the end of 2011.
Production capacity and production, worldwide and not only in Italy, have grown faster than demand, which was also constrained by the various changes in incentives. This is one of the causes of the collapse of the price of modules, which has occurred particularly since the end of 2010 (see chart below, by Solarpraxis).