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What is a Renewable Energy Community (CER)?

A CER is a collective of citizens, small and medium-sized enterprises, territorial entities, and local authorities, including municipal administrations, cooperatives, research bodies, religious entities, third sector and environmental protection organizations, that share renewable electric energy produced by plants available to one or more subjects associated with the community.
In a CER, renewable electric energy can be shared among various producer and consumer entities, located within the same geographical perimeter defined by the primary substation, thanks to the use of the national electric energy distribution network, which enables the virtual sharing of such energy.

The main goal of a CER is to provide environmental, economic, and social benefits to its members or partners and to the local areas in which it operates, through the self-consumption of renewable energy.

Energy Communities aim to achieve a high degree of energy self-sufficiency, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promoting a more environmentally and economically sustainable supply style.

First, it is necessary to identify the areas where to establish plants powered by renewable sources and the users to associate with for sharing electric energy.

Then, it is necessary to legally establish the CER, in the form of an association, third sector entity, cooperative, benefit cooperative, consortium, non-profit organization, etc., that is, to endow the CER with its own legal autonomy through any form that ensures compliance with its main constitutive objectives. Each CER is, therefore, characterized by a founding act, a statute, and internal regulations that illustrate the rules for distributing benefits among the members.

The membership of an energy consumer or a renewable energy producer in the CER can occur at the stage of the CER’s legal establishment, or at a later stage, according to the procedures provided in the acts and statutes of the CERs themselves.

No, large companies cannot be members of a CER.

A CER is a community that aggregates producers from renewable sources and energy consumers. It is therefore possible to participate in the CER as:

  • renewable energy producer, a subject that realizes a plant from a renewable source (for example, photovoltaic);
  • producer – consumer (prosumer) of renewable energy, a subject who owns a production plant from a renewable source and produces energy to meet their own consumption and share the excess energy with the rest of the community;
  • consumer (consumer) of electricity, a subject who does not own any energy production plant, but has their own electric utility, whose consumption can be partly covered by the renewable electricity produced by other community members.

To be able to access the incentives provided for CERs, the production plants from renewable sources must have a power not exceeding 1 MW. These plants are generally newly constructed, although plants already made can be part of a CER, provided they entered into operation after December 16, 2021 (the date of entry into force of Legislative Decree 199/2021) and in any case after the regular establishment of the CER.

Furthermore, for the purposes of accessing the benefits provided by the Incentive Decree, the plants must not benefit from other incentives on the production of electricity.

Yes, there is a geographical constraint. All consumers and all producers must be located in the geographic area whose points of connection to the national electricity network (POD) are under the same primary electrical substation.

The interactive map of conventional areas under the primary substations present on the national territory is available at the link https://www.gse.it/servizi-per-te/autoconsumo/mappainterattiva-delle-cabine-primarie made available by GSE, in collaboration with distribution companies.

For all CERs, two types of economic remuneration for self-consumed (shared) energy are provided:

  1. An incentive tariff on the energy produced by FER and virtually self-consumed by CER members. This tariff is recognized by the GSE for a period of 20 years from the date of entry into operation of each FER plant. The tariff ranges between 60 €/MWh and 120€/MWh, depending on the size of the plant and the market value of the energy.
  2. A valorization remuneration for the self-consumed energy, defined by ARERA – Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks, and Environment variable year by year for example in 2023 it was equal to 8.48 €/MWh.

It is also highlighted that all renewable electricity produced but not self-consumed remains available to the producers and is valued at market conditions. For such energy, it is possible to request GSE access to the economic conditions of the dedicated withdrawal.

Finally, for CERs whose production plants are located in Municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants, a capital grant is provided, equal to 40% of the investment cost, under the resources of the PNRR.

The incentive tariff recognized by the GSE, on the amount of electricity shared by a CER, consists of a fixed part and a variable part.

  • Incentive Tariff = Fixed Part + Variable Part.
    The fixed part varies depending on the size of the plant, the variable part depends on the market price of energy.

The incentive tariff decreases in the fixed part as the power of the plants increases, while the variable part ranges between 0 and 40€/MWh depending on the price of energy (as the market price of energy decreases, the variable part increases up to a maximum of 40€/MWh).

The incentive tariff and the ARERA contribution are recognized exclusively on the electricity self-consumed by the CER. This amount of energy is equal to that virtually shared, in each hour, between the producers and the consumers members of the CER, located in the portion of the distribution network under the same Primary Substation. The self-consumed electricity is determined by the GSE, therefore without any burden for the community members, based on the measures automatically transmitted by the energy distributors to the GSE. For each hour, the GSE will check how much energy is produced by all the plants that are part of the same CER and how much energy is withdrawn by each consumer of the CER. The self-consumed (shared) energy will therefore be equal to the lesser value between these two sums of energy.

The beneficiary of the PNRR contribution is the one who bears the investment for the realization of the renewable source production plant with power up to 1 MW, inserted in CER, located in Municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants.

The PNRR capital grant is equal to 40% of the expenses incurred for the realization of FER plants, within the limits of the eligible expenses and the following maximum investment costs based on the power size:

  • 1,500 €/kW, for plants up to 20 kW;
  • 1,200 €/kW, for plants with power greater than 20 kW and up to 200 kW;
  • 1,100 €/kW for power greater than 200 kW and up to 600 kW;
  • 1,050 €/kW, for plants with power greater than 600 kW and up to 1,000 kW.

Value-added tax (VAT) is not eligible for the incentives, except in the case where it is not recoverable under VAT legislation.

The following expenses are eligible:
  • construction of renewable source plants;
  • supply and installation of storage systems;
  • purchase and installation of machinery, plants, and hardware and software equipment;
  • building works strictly necessary for the realization of the intervention;
  • connection to the national electricity grid;
  • prefeasibility studies and expenses necessary for preliminary activities;
  • designs, geological and geotechnical surveys;
  • construction management and safety;
  • technical and/or administrative testing, consultations, and/or essential technical-administrative support for the implementation of the project.
The last four types of expenses mentioned above are fundable to no more than 10% of the amount admitted to financing.

Yes, the incentive tariff can be combined with the PNRR contribution or other capital contributions, up to a maximum of 40%, with a reduction of the incentive tariff by 50%.

Therefore, if a producer obtained a capital grant of any type exceeding 40% of the investment cost (calculated based on the previously illustrated caps), it is not possible to obtain the incentive tariff for the electricity produced by the plant in question.

No. The incentive tariff does not apply to electricity that has been produced by photovoltaic plants that have accessed the Superbonus. However, these plants still have the right to obtain the ARERA contribution for the valorization of self-consumed electricity.

It is possible to obtain the incentive tariff if the 50% tax deductions for building renovations (provided by article 16-bis, paragraph 1, letter h, of the consolidated income tax code of the decree of the President of the Republic December 22, 1986, n. 917) were used. However, these plants cannot access other capital grants, including that provided by the PNRR.

Yes. In the case where the plant benefits from a capital grant, the incentive tariff is proportionally reduced based on the % of co-financing.

In the case of a 40% capital grant, the incentive tariff is reduced by 50%.

Yes, it is possible. The stored energy is considered, through specific algorithms, as energy shared within the CER and therefore incentivized.

Yes, in a CER there can also be charging infrastructures for electric vehicles and the energy absorbed for vehicle charging, through specific algorithms, is considered by the GSE for the purpose of calculating the energy shared within the CER.

No, production plants powered by renewable sources and individual consumption meters of final customers can belong to only one CER.

However, it is possible for the same subject to belong to two different CERs with distinct consumption meters or production plants owned by them.

All participants in the CER – whether they are consumers or prosumers (i.e., consumers who own a production plant from a renewable source and produce energy for themselves and for the members of the CER) – retain their rights as final customers, including the choice of electricity supplier and have the faculty to leave the Community whenever they wish, according to the rules and guidelines contained in the statute.

The same rights of entry and exit are also guaranteed to producers from renewable sources.

This group includes owners of connection points located in the same building or condominium who consume electricity produced by production plants located in the area pertaining to the building/condominium itself or in other areas, part of the same market zone, which are fully available to one or more subjects part of the configuration and who have given mandate to the same representative for the constitution and management of the configuration. Production plants can be managed by producers part of the group or by a third producer, possibly coinciding with the configuration’s representative, provided they are subject to the instructions of one or more members of the configuration. The electricity withdrawn for sharing purposes may include withdrawals from final customers not part of the configuration, provided they are owners of connection points located in the same building/condominium.

In this case, the subjects part of the configuration are a consumer and a producer, which coincides with the consumer or is a third subject following the instructions of the consumer himself, whose respective consumption and production units are connected with a direct electrical line not exceeding 10 km in length and located in areas fully available to the consumer and who have given mandate to the same representative for the constitution and management of the configuration.

The only difference with the “individual remote self-consumer with a direct line” configuration is that the production plants and consumption units must be located in the same market zone and not directly connected by an electrical line.

NO. Membership in the CER is possible for both private (companies, citizens) and public subjects (municipalities/ companies held by the PA).

NO, there is no limit to the number of plants but there is a limit only on the maximum power of each individual plant which cannot be greater than 1 MW.

In any case, for a correct sizing of the community, the cumulative power of the plants must be such as to try to maximize the shared energy, or anyway in such a way as to have a high percentage of shared energy, to optimize the investment payback times.

NO. Each community or collective self-consumption can establish its own distribution criteria based on its own evaluation criteria stated in the statute and internal regulations.

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