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.
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".
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.
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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