Engie, the largest Italian agri-voltaic park is born
Producing energy from renewable sources by enhancing the agricultural productions of the territory. One hundred million euros of investments for the largest agri-voltaic park in Italy which was inaugurated in Mazara del Vallo, in Sicily. The project was born from the collaboration between Engie e Amazon and is financed thanks to a Green loan from Cdp, Societe generale e Bnp Paribas. The plant occupies an area of 115 hectares, equivalent to 161 football pitcheswith a capacity of 66 megawatts generated by over 120 thousand panels.
Clean energy and agriculture
Panels under which, and here is the novelty, some of the agricultural varieties of the area: forage, in particular, but also experimental fields for the production of olive trees, almond trees, lavenderas well as crops aromatic and medicinal. In fact, agri-voltaic systems integrate the production of clean energy with agriculture, with particular attention to local biodiversity. All with a positive impact also for the agricultural realities local involved in crop management. Something that will also happen in Paternò where Engie’s second agri-voltaic plant is located in Sicily, which will start producing energy within end of year. In total, the two plants will have a production capacity of 104 megawatt and will make it possible to avoid the emission of over 62,000 tons of CO2 each year.
The role of Amazon
The energy produced by the plants is destined for a large part, 80 percent, to Amazon business in Italy. The remainder is placed on the market contributing to the energy requirements about 20,000 domestic users. And it is also for this collaboration with the American company that we can speak of an avant-garde project. It is in fact the first plant conceived on the basis of a Corporate PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) contractual model between two private companies.
But, if up to now we have talked about projects under construction, the Engie group’s attention for Italy is directed to the future. At the moment, in Sicily, the company owns in total five plants in operation. The wind farms in Salemi/Trapani and Elimi, photovoltaic plants in Lembisi and Santa Chiara and the agri-voltaic plant in Mazara del Vallo together with the other 15 scattered throughout Italy produce circa 500 megawatt. But the goal is to get there 2 gigawatts to 2030. And in this too Sicily can play a fundamental role because, as underlined by Monica Iacono, CEO of Engie Italia, “is increasingly becoming an energy pole”. In fact, the Region has many “potentials” such as the development of biomethane, because energy can be produced from agricultural waste, such as citrus fruits and olives, of which Sicily is a land. There is nothing more sustainable and circular than this: this is the first project of many”.