Energy Communities: citizens and territory join together for the energy transition

Published on Monday, 24 July 2023

How do energy communities work?

Following the commissioning of the plant or plants that make up a specific energy community, it is possible to submit a formal application to GSE for the incentives provided for energy sharing. This can be done with or without assistance from an external company hired for this purpose.

The aforementioned incentives are not given for all of the energy produced, but cover only the amount of energy shared and simultaneously consumed by members of the energy community, i.e. only the electricity consumed during the same time period in which it was produced. In the event that electricity production exceeds the consumption threshold the community receives a financial sum equal to the cost of the energy in excess, with no further benefits.

Excess electricity can be stored in storage systems, such as electrochemical lithium-ion batteries, to then be used later or during times in the day in which the production from renewable sources is hindered (for example during the night when photovoltaic panels have no sunlight to transform into electricity) or to meet any possible peaks in energy demand.


The use of energy communities in the photovoltaic sector

Without a doubt, energy communities that decide to rely on solar energy generation have access to numerous advantages.

Due to their nature, photovoltaic panel systems can easily be adapted to both urban and rural settings. For example, an SME or a public administration can facilitate the installation of plants on various types of roofs, such as on factories, public or private buildings, schools, libraries and so on.

In parallel to neighborhood communities, it is also possible to establish energy communities in agricultural areas and villages. For example, an agricultural energy community could have row crops next to or alternating with photovoltaic panels on land provided by one or several community members or by a third party.
It is thanks to this optimization of space and resources that photovoltaic energy communities are specifically used to meet the unique needs of an area and community by virtue of their high adaptability to any type of setting. 

Furthermore, modern technologies in the photovoltaic sector allow for the systematic use of recycled and recyclable materials in the production of solar panels and plants. Because of this, the materials can be easily salvaged or put to another use at the end of their life, emphasizing circular economy principles that are another fundamental pillar for the sustainable development of society.


The impact of shared energy on the energy transition

The energy transition is a true paradigm shift which aims to bring people, along with their needs and wellbeing, to the center of a new idea of sustainable development.

For this reason, energy communities represent an exemplary evolution in the collective commitment of citizens, institutions and businesses towards the themes of climate change, decarbonization, energy security and independence. As a Group, we have always encouraged and supported this awareness. The Casei Gerola and Malvezzi solar parks, built in part thanks to the contribution of citizens who joined crowdfunding initiatives, demonstrate how the increasingly widespread and efficient use of renewable sources can give rise to a new model for growth, one which involves people.

Through energy communities we see citizens, businesses, institutions, associations, agencies and non-profit organizations joining together to contribute firsthand to the sustainable growth of our country, initiating transversal and shared benefits and becoming protagonists of the energy transition.



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