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Fig. 1. SENS PV farm in Montecchio Emilia in northern Italy (icon image). Photo: STEAG

STEAG subsidiary develops further solar farm in Italy

In Montecchio Emilia in northern Italy, STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH (SENS), Würzburg/Germany, is planning and constructing a further solar farm on the site of a former quarry for the investor KGAL Investment Management GmbH & Co KG (Figure 1). The plant will be completed in the coming months and will have a capacity of 17 MWp. This means that the new solar farm will be able to supply the region with around 25 M kWh/a of green electricity. With up to 10 h/d of sunshine, the region is an ideal location for generating power using photovoltaics (PV). The Italian subsidiary SENS Italia is responsible for implementing the project.

Since the investor KGAL and SENS can already look back on several successful and jointly implemented PV projects, initiation of the project took place in a record-breaking four weeks from the first meeting to conclusion of the contract. In addition to the relationship of mutual confidence and trust that the two partners share as a result of their many years of cooperation, this is primarily due to the support provided by the legal advisors DWF (for SENS) and Orrick (for KGAL).

“We are once again delighted with the professional and extremely rapid preparation by the SENS team,” says Michael Ebner, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure at KGAL. For KGAL and SENS, the project represents a continuation of their long-standing partnership. The two companies have already worked together successfully, e. g., in Italy and Spain.

Construction of the project was scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2022. SENS Italia will act as the project developer and EPC partner until completion at the end of the year. That means that in addition to designing the project, the solar experts at the Italian SENS subsidiary will also take care of the turnkey construction of the solar farm and the subsequent operation of the plant. The latter also includes the plant management, feeding of the renewable energy into the regional power grid and subsequent operation and maintenance services.

When the solar farm is connected to an existing substation, the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy will in future benefit from 25 M kWh/a of electricity generated from a renewable source. This PV farm alone will save around 6,250 t/a of climate-damaging CO2 emissions.

The new PV plant in Montecchio Emilia is a special success for the Italian staff and the SENS team as a whole. This is because SENS was awarded a subsidized tariff for the plant in an auction held by the Italian government. This success not only confirms the good prospects of the solar farm itself, but at the same time underlines the high regard in which SENS is held as a developer of ambitious PV projects in Southern Europe. This is also reflected in the fact that so far there are only a few PV plants of this size in Italy that have been developed to the construction stage with the help of a subsidized tariff.

However, the current project in Montecchio Emilia is only an intermediate step on the way to achieving much more ambitious expansion targets. In the next few years, another nearby construction phase will follow, as will other SENS projects in surrounding districts and regions with a total capacity of around 60 MWp. When these are completed, the plants in the region will have a total power generation from renewable energy sources of around 100 M kWh/a.

“With this project pipeline, we are getting closer and closer to the establishment of the first gigawatt of capacity in Italy,” explains Sarah Herresthal, Managing Director of SENS Italia. “I am incredibly proud of the entire team, which is working day after day to ensure that the expansion of renewables in Italy continues to progress. This will also allow us to reach our goal of building another 3 GWp of capacity across Italy by 2025,” says the SENS country manager, looking forward to the impending projects. (STEAG/Si.)