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How to get a discount on the cost of solar panels for your Italian property

Solar panels are an understandably popular choice in Italy, and if you're thinking of installing them on your own home there's funding available to help lower the cost. Here's what you need to know.

How to get a discount on the cost of solar panels for your Italian property
More ways to cover the cost of installing solar panels on your property in Italy. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

As utility bills rise, more home and business owners in Italy are looking at installing solar panels as a possible way to reduce costs in the long term.

Solar panels are already hugely popular in Italy, with the nation ranking top worldwide for solar-powered electricity consumption.

READ ALSO: Who can claim a discount on energy bills in Italy?

And no wonder: it’s a solid bet in a country where there is sunshine in abundance. But what about the costs of installation?

The good news is that there’s financial help available from Italy’s national government aimed at encouraging uptake of solar energy, as well as other incentives from regional authorities in many parts of the country.

It’s in the government’s interest to incentivise solar power, as Italy has vowed to transition to greener energy with its National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate (Piano Nazionale Integrato per l’Energia e il Clima 2030 or PNIEC).

So how could this benefit you? Here’s a look at what you can claim at both a national and a regional level.

Regional funding for installing solar panels

As well as the national government subsidies available for covering the cost of solar panel installation, some regions have introduced their own bonuses or discount schemes.

The sunny southern region of Puglia and the wealthy northern region of Lombardy have seen the highest number of residential photovoltaic systems installed, according to market research.

it’s not surprising, then, that these two regions’ governments are offering cash incentives to help cover the cost of installing solar panels.

Depending on the type of system you opt for, you could expect to pay between around €5,000 and €13,000 for installation, design, labour and paperwork.

To contribute to this initial outlay, the local authority in Puglia has created a pot to help homeowners on lower incomes move towards renewable energy.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about installing solar panels on your home in Italy

Newly introduced in 2022, the so-called Reddito energetico (energy income) offers households with an annual income below €20,000 a bonus of up to €8,500 for installing photovoltaic, solar thermal or micro-wind systems in their homes.

The bonus is intended for residents who have citizenship of an EU country or, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you can still claim the bonus if you have been resident for at least one year in a municipality in Puglia.

The €20,000 annual income refers to a household’s ISEE – an indicator of household wealth calculated based on earnings and other factors.

A worker fixes solar panels. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

For this particular scheme, if you claim this bonus from the authorities in Puglia, it precludes you from also claiming funds at national level concurrently – such as through the popular superbonus 110 home renovation fund (see below for more on this).

Although there are other government bonuses, such as the renovation bonus (bonus ristrutturazione) that offers a much higher maximum total expenditure of €96,000, it can only be claimed as a 50 percent tax deduction spread over 10 years in your tax return.

For lower income families in Puglia, this may not be as cost effective as the grant from the regional authorities, which may equate to more money towards the cost and supply of solar panels.

For more information and to apply for Puglia’s renewable energy bonus, see here.

Lombardy is also stumping up funds to continue the solar power momentum experienced in the region.

While the coffers for private properties are currently closed, the region has made funds available for those with small and medium-sized businesses – again, in a move designed to lessen the impact of rising energy costs.

Business owners can claim a 30 percent grant for the installation of solar panels. There are more funds available to cover the cost of consultancy during the process too.

For more details on applying for this energy bonus in Lombardy, see here.

Other regions have also taken the initiative with encouraging more homes and businesses to change to solar-powered energy.

The region of Tuscany is offering an incentive on installing solar panels to residents in the form of tax deductions spread out over several years.

Works permitted include installing winter and summer air conditioning and hot water systems using renewable sources. This covers heat pumps, solar panels or high-efficiency biomass boilers.

For further details and information on how to apply, see here.

Each region may have its own solar panel bonus, either in the form of grants or tax deductions, available to private residents and/or businesses.

Check your regional government’s website to find out what may be currently on offer.

Solar panels are an increasingly popular option for those renovating homes in Italy. Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

National subsidies for installing solar panels

If your region isn’t offering any cash incentive to install solar panels on your property, there are government funds available, which cover all 20 regions.

The authorities introduced and extended a package of building bonuses in order to galvanise the construction industry following the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

While there is no single, separate package of incentives for installing solar panels in 2022, you can take advantage of other government bonuses that include the cost of solar panel installation and supply.

As noted, you could use the renovation bonus (bonus ristrutturazione), which amounts to a 50 percent tax deduction spread over 10 years in your tax return – or through the superbonus 110, a scheme that promises homeowners a tax deduction of up to 110% on expenses related to property renovation and making energy efficiency measures.

READ ALSO:

The property must make at least a double jump in energy class or reach the highest efficiency rating when accessing these bonuses.

There’s a substantial amount of funds on offer to install your solar panels.

Using the renovation bonus, there is a maximum total expenditure of €96,000 (per single housing, including condominiums). Remember this amounts to a 50 percent tax deduction, so the maximum saving you would make is €48,000.

The renovation bonus has been extended until 2024 and, where solar panel installation is concerned, you can claim for the costs of labour, design, surveys and inspections, as well as VAT and stamp duty.

You must tell Italy’s energy and technology authority, ENEA, that you’ve done the works within 90 days in order to access the state aid for solar panel installation.

If you choose to use the superbonus route to claim funds for your solar panels, however, you can spread out the tax deduction costs over five years. Alternatively, you can apply for it as a discount on the invoice (sconto in fattura) or through the transfer of credit (cessione del credito).

The limit when using this bonus is €48,000, which can now be accessed for a while longer as the government extended the deadline for single family homes.

See HERE for details on how to claim it.

See more in The Local’s Italian property section.

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COST OF LIVING

What is Italy doing to fight rising cost of everyday goods?

The level of inflation in Italy reached 8 percent in June so what products are getting more expensive in the country and what measures are being taken by the Italian government to keep prices down?

What is Italy doing to fight rising cost of everyday goods?

Italy’s national statistics institute Istat has estimated inflation for June 2022 will hit 8 percent, up from the 6.8 percent in May, a record in the country that hasn’t seen such a spike in prices since January 1986.

“All of us in the government have the task of killing the inflation monster”, Minister for Public Administration Renato Brunetta said in an interview with the Quotidiano Nazionale on Sunday.

The minister said that the government is pushing for a price cap on gas and oil prices and calls for a “European agreement now” to regulate limits.

Any measures to create a ceiling for prices would need to follow European regulations, and EU countries must agree on them before members implement limits on fuel prices.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

A major issue with rising prices is that wages lose their value, Brunetta explained. As a result, Italians can now buy fewer things with the same salary as one year ago.

Worker’s unions are looking to adjust collective agreements for wage readjustments, while companies fear that simply increasing salaries could prolong the crisis, Brunetta said.

What is the government doing to combat inflation?

The minister said then that the government is proposing a reduction in taxes incurred in workers’ wages to increase purchasing power without overburdening the employers.

He added authorities are also looking into “targeted and selective interventions”, including extending social benefits to low-income people.

Among the measures and proposals, he mentioned the targeted €200 bonus for Italian households to help with utility bills.

READ ALSO: Who can claim Italy’s €200 cost of living bonus?

The payments were announced in May alongside other government measures to offset the soaring cost of living, such as extending energy bill discounts and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘super bonus 110’.

Pension amounts will also be reevaluated and adjusted for inflation more often and at higher rates, the minister said – the same with severance payments. He didn’t give further details, though.

Where can the increases be seen more dramatically?

Italy’s statistics institute says that “several types of products” have had price increases in the country, according to a press release. The main increase (48.7 percent year on year) can be seen in “energy goods”, such as fuel and gas.

READ ALSO: Italian property prices continue to rise in 2022

Food in Italy is also more expensive, both unprocessed food (9.6 percent increase) such as fruits and vegetables, and processed food (up by 8.2 percent). Recreational, cultural, and personal care services are also more expensive, up 5 percent compared to June 2021.

The institute says that the highest increases can be seen in housing, water, electricity and fuel supply. Or essential goods and living conditions for Italian households.

As fuel prices soar worldwide, Italians also see an increase in transport costs. The third sector with the most dramatic increases is food and beverage products, according to the institute report.

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