Italy: Choice between Three Different Incentives

At the beginning of August, Decree No. 63 of 2013 was turned into Law No. 90 of 2013. This new law implements Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, making changes to the Legislative Decree No. 192/2005 which had replaced the previous directive on energy building performance (2002/91/EC). Attached you will find the text of the new law with terms in brackets and bold, which outline the changes introduced by the parliament to Decree No. 63.

The main objectives of the new law are to

  • promote improvements in energy building performance
  • encourage the development, enhancement and integration of renewable energy in buildings
  • determine general criteria for certifying a building’s energy performance

The law modifies the tax deductions for energy efficiency measures in buildings, increasing the deductible share to 65% of the investment costs over 10 years. The incentive will be extended until 31 December 2013 for all types of measures, except for blocks of flats: In this case, the extension runs until 30 June 2014. The maximum amount per single intervention remains at EUR 60,000 (corresponding to a total investment of EUR 92,300).

Not yet clearly defined is what is written in Article 15. By the end of this year, lawmakers will have settled on the specifics of the structural incentives, both for energy efficiency and water efficiency measures, as well as for seismic strengthening and building safety. At the moment, it is impossible to know how the new incentive will be combined with the feed-in tariff for renewable heating, which started at the beginning of January 2013.

The 50 % tax deduction for building renovations will remain unaffected, but will be extended to 31 December 2013.

To sum up the entire process: Anyone who currently intends to install a solar thermal system can choose between 3 incentives, depending on the type of solar thermal system and the climatic region:

  • 65% tax deductions for energy efficiency measures in buildings
  • 50% tax deductions for building renovations
  • feed-in tariff for renewable heating

The new law also refers to the qualification of installers and meets the concerns expressed a few months ago by some associations that the new rules introduced through Decree 28 would have a negative impact on a high number of installers already suffering from the current economic crisis.

Article 17, in fact, revokes the changes made by Decree 28. The professional qualification to install and maintain renewable energy systems can now be obtained by those who have the technical and professional skills described in Article 4 paragraph 1, letters a, b, c and d of Decree 37/2008 (as it had been the case before Decree 28). The amendments have two important consequences:

  • Plumbers who have obtained the qualification in renewable energy systems over the years “onsite” will be seen as qualified and allowed to work (letter d of Decree 37/2008).
  • All installers who have the technical and professional skills requested by Decree 37/2008 will qualify and have no obligation to attend training and refresher courses.
  • The regions will keep the obligation to implement training programmes for installers of renewable energy systems by the end of this year, but installers will no longer be required to participate in training and/or refresher courses. The installers can voluntarily decide whether to attend them or not.

Regarding the last item, it still seems important to continue the public discussion about what may be the best tools and ways to ensure adequate quality training that not only guarantees a high level of professionalism, but also covers new areas of training needs (technological innovation, integration, etc).

This text was written by Valeria Verga, Secretary General of the Italian solar thermal association Assolterm.

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