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Innovation, solar power and lots of olives: New Agri-Solar Park in Sicily

19 September 2023

Sicily - where the olive trees bear their sun-ripened fruit and the lavender in the fields gently sways in the wind, green electricity has recently been generated by ENGIE. On the Italian island, we recently realised an agri-solar park that will combine renewable energy production with local agricultural crops. The energy will be fed into the Italian national grid and will serve, in large part, to fuel the activities of Amazon in Italy. The showcase project is not only the largest agri-PV plant in Italy to date and one of the largest in Europe - it is the first European project to combine innovative agri-photovoltaic technology with a modern power purchase agreement (PPA). An exciting idea for the PV industry! Read more here.

Expansion of Agri-PV - Green Energy from the Fields 

Low costs, flexibility, new funding opportunities - we have already underligned in the magazine articles on onsite PPA and Flexisun® that photovoltaics is an essential - if not the most important - key technology of the energy transition. But despite its advantages, ground-mounted PV at least encounters a common problem: land that would be suitable for solar modules is often already in use for other purposes. Thus, many farmers have not been able to use photovoltaics in their fields. Their land was (and still is) allocated for agricultural purposes.

Agri-PV as a modern energy generation concept solves the land conflict with double benefit. Modern module mounting systems with special panels make it possible to grow crops, keep animals and produce sustainable electricity on agricultural land at the same time. It doesn't get any greener than this! Agri-PV is thus enjoying growing interest in the photovoltaic sector as an innovative concept. For example, at Intersolar Europe 2023 , agri-photovoltaics was already one of the most important trends. Among others, James MacDonald, strategist of the ENGIE subsidiary Laborelec, spoke about this at the trade fair: "Agri-PV: How the great potential of solar power can be used in agriculture".

Good to know

Agri -PV technology has developed very dynamically in recent years, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. According to the scientific institution, the installed Agri PV capacity worldwide has increased exponentially in recent years - from around 5 MWp in 2012 to over 14 GWp in 2020. And since then, many more systems have been added. The Fraunhofer Institute sees enormous potential for Germany alone: an increase to a total of around 1,700 GWp would be conceivable.

ENGIE welcomes the idea of agri-photovoltaics

The potential is there, as are the technology and the political framework. But what does it look like in practice? In fact, many energy companies are currently planning new agri-solar parks throughout Europe. As one of the pioneers for Agri-PV, we at ENGIE are part of the game. We already realised the first Agri-PV plants in France in 2011. In addition, there are pilot plants and research projects such as the Camelia demonstration plant in Laqueuille in the Auvergne. Today, with us as a partner, solar power plants are being built on a large scale - for Amazon, among others. We recently realised a modern agri-solar park in Sicily for the Italian offshoot of the online retailer.

Project overview: Agri-Solar Park in Sicily

  • The new Agri-Solar Park is located near the municipality of Mazara del Vallo in the province of Trapani and went into operation in May. Trapani is located in the far west of Sicily.
  • The plant extends over 115 hectares and has an installed capacity of 66 MWp.
  • Solar power generation is combined with agricultural use of the land. Local plants such as olives and almonds as well as medicinal herbs such as lavender and fodder plants thrive between the rows of modules. In this way, the agri-solar park preserves the character of the local landscape and biodiversity and avoids land conflicts with agriculture.
  • The solar power produced is mainly used by Amazon. The solar park feeds surplus energy into the Italian electricity grid.
  • The project also includes a second Agri solar park in Paternò in the province of Catania in eastern Sicily. This is expected to have an output of 38 MWp after commissioning at the end of the year.
  • The second plant increases the total power produced for Amazon to 104 MWp. In this way, the project saves a total of over 62,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

A special feature: The new agri-solar park in Sicily is not only the largest agri-PV project in Italy. It is the first European agri-solar park based on a power purchase agreement (PPA) between two companies: Within the framework of a modern power supply contract, ENGIE takes care of the technology and provides Amazon with green energy reliably and at calculable prices. The PPA thus offers security and a degree of independence in times of volatile energy markets. As our customer, we support Amazon in acting more sustainably and resolutely taking the path towards zero carbon. Giorgio Busnelli, Director of FMCG at Amazon, says:


" This project allows us to accelerate our path towards zero net CO2 emissions by 2040, contribute to the energy transition of the country and generate a positive impact in the communities in which we operate."


We are pleased about the successful cooperation with Amazon and look forward to many more projects in the Agri-PV sector. We will keep you up to date on this and many other of our activities in the energy sector. Check out the Zero Carbon magazine again soon!

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Our Expert

Lena Bromber
As an expert in regional exploration at ENGIE Deutschland Renewables, Lena Bromber is primarily responsible for monitoring regional planning and the GIS-based assessment of wind and photovoltaic opportunities. Already during her studies of geography she dealt intensively with the topic of agri-PV and made the innovative dual use the subject of her master's thesis.

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