MAZARA DEL VALLO (TRAPANI) (ITALPRESS) – Engie inaugurated today the first large-scale agri-voltaic park built in Italy: it combines the production of renewable energy with the agricultural crops of the area. The energy is fed into the Italian national grid and is used, in large part, to power Amazon’s activities in Italy. The structure was presented today, in Mazara del Vallo, in the province of Trapani, by the CEO of Engie Italia, Monica Iacono and by the director of FMCG categories for Amazon in Europe, Giorgio Busnelli, in an event which saw the participation of the Deputy Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Vannia Gava.
The agri-voltaic park, the construction of which was announced in 2021, covers 115 hectares. It was built in Sicily in an agricultural area located between Marsala and Mazara del Vallo, in the province of Trapani and is the first of the two renewable energy plants announced by the companies. The second is located in Paternò, in the province of Catania and will begin producing energy by the end of the year. In total, the two plants will have a production capacity of 104 MW Peak (83MW AC). According to Engie’s estimates, the two structures will contribute to the saving of over 62,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
The Mazara del Vallo plant is an avant-garde example: in addition to being the first agri-voltaic park built in Italy, it is also the first conceived on the basis of a Corporate PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) contractual model between two private companies.
“Despite the context of the global crisis, we have continued on our decarbonisation path towards the energy transition.
The Mazara del Vallo agrivoltaic plant for Engie is fully consistent with the development strategy in Italy and in the world – says Monica Iacono, CEO of Engie Italia -. We currently have 500 MW of installed renewable capacity and our plan aims to reach 2 GW in 2030 between wind and photovoltaic plants. To achieve these objectives, a continuous and constant relationship with the territories and with the central institutions is essential together with a stable, simplified legislative and regulatory framework, which we hope will be defined soon”.
“I am pleased to be in Mazara del Vallo today for the inauguration of the first agri-voltaic park in Italy, which combines the production of renewable energy with the preservation of arable land. This project allows us to accelerate our path towards zero emissions net CO2 emissions by 2040, contribute to the country’s energy transition and generate a positive impact in the communities in which we operate,” commented Giorgio Busnelli, director of FMCG categories for Amazon in Europe.
Agri-voltaic parks increase land-use efficiency by placing the photovoltaic panels high above the ground, in order to allow cultivation in the fields below. The Mazara del Vallo plant is equipped with latest generation technology: bifacial solar panels mounted on single-axis trackers allow both direct and reflected light to be captured from the surrounding land, thus facilitating energy production. The use of bifacial solar panels and trackers minimizes the area required for the photovoltaic system and maximizes the effectiveness for the agricultural destination. 150 people were employed to build the Mazara del Vallo plant. In the agricultural park of Mazara del Vallo, mainly forage crops will be grown as well as vines, lavender and aromatic and medicinal plants.
In this way it will be possible to guarantee the protection of the rural landscape and biodiversity, and to ensure a positive impact also for the local agricultural realities involved in crop management.
Engie has among its main strategic challenges the production of energy from renewable sources. In Sicily Engie owns 5 plants in operation (wind plants in Salemi/Trapani and Elimi, photovoltaic plants in Lembisi and Santa Chiara and the agri-voltaic plant in Mazara del Vallo) powered by renewable sources for approximately 174 MW of installed power and is building new projects for a further 68 MW: a 38 MW Peak agri-voltaic plant (33 MW AC) in Paternò and the 30 MW Rampingallo wind plant). Associated with the Trapani Salemi wind farm there is a “Fast Reserve Unit” with a capacity of 12.5MW. It is a storage system created to support Terna in guaranteeing the stability of the electricity grid.
Worldwide, the Engie Group has an installed green energy capacity of 38 GW, with the goal of reaching 80 GW by 2030.
Amazon is now the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy globally, with a total of more than 400 renewable energy projects in 22 countries, including 128 solar and wind projects in Europe. In Italy, Amazon announced 22 renewable energy projects, which also include 19 sites powered by rooftop photovoltaic systems, for a total capacity of more than 115 MW, enough to power more than 90,000 Italian homes. As of the end of 2021, the company has achieved 85% renewable energy sourcing across all of its operations and is close to the goal of powering all of its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.
– Engie press office photo –