On March 26th, the Italian Constitutional Court declared the unconstitutionality of Puglia Regional Law No. 31 of 2008, which governs the authorization procedure for plants generating energy from renewable sources ("RL 31/08") and allows PV plants in the region to use the DIA process for licensing of power plants under a 1 MW rating.  The DIA procedure is a regional one and much quicker and less costly that the A.U. procedure ruled by the national legislation.

    This controversy is not a new one and has been simmering in the background since the Italian Government challenged the exemption under RL 31/08 before the Constitutional Court, with petition No. 105 of 31 December 2008, claiming it is in conflict with the general principles set forth by the national legislation, i.e. Legislative Decree No. 387/2003, "LD 387/03" which regulates the Italian renewable energy FITs and market), and is therefore unconstitutional. The recent hearing however has brought the issue to the front line and has puck a stick in the spokes of the entire PV market in Italy.

    The DIA process, however which preceded the actual national regulation now in place has put the Puglia region at the forefront of PV activity in the world as it also boasts high solar radiation and has good industrial infrastructure and a reasonably healthy financial community available locally. Some report that over 300 MW DIA requests have been processed in this region alone in the last 12 months. And this is probably one main of the reasons that the national government has had to step in and control this feeding frenzy.

    Other regions also have enacted a similar legislation providing for a DIA process for 1 MW plants but, if it were not enough, include different twists in the licensing process depending on the region. The Basilicata region, for example, has a similar process but you can even begin building there before the full STMD approval (with a TICA authorization from the local utility) as long as you have the DIA.

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