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Photovoltaic fraud: a creeping menace

While it’s no secret that Feed-in Tariffs across the continent are being slashed, it may come as a surprise to some to learn that one of the primary reasons for these reductions is the rise in fraudulent claims. PES considers the situation in Europe’s key PV battlegrounds…

At the beginning of the year, it emerged that a sudden rise in the number of solar power installations in Italy was being investigated by the government over fears of Feed-in Tariff (FiT) fraud. Around 55,000 requests for government incentives covering projects with a total capacity of 4,000MW were received by GSE, the state energy services agency, as developers rushed to sign up before FiT rates expired at the end of 2010. However, as Minister Paulo Romani pointed out in a letter to newspaper Corriere della Sera: “As we feared, cases of real fraud have emerged…It’s an abnormal acceleration. Controls have started immediately.”

In 2007, generous government subsidies were introduced in Italy and since then the country’s solar sector has experienced considerable growth – pushing to become Europe’s third-largest PV market. However, because of falling module prices, the FiT has been cut, which led to the large number of subsidy applications.


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