SunPower to build 16.5 MW of PV plants in Italy

Located on a combined total of 63 hectares, SunPower and Sol.In.Build Srl - a majority owned subsidiary of Veronagest SpA - plan 7 solar PV plants, ranging in size from one to 3.5 MW.

SunPower and Sol.In.Build say they aim to complete the plants by September 2010, and they expect to create 50 jobs during construction.

The construction will be financed by a pool of Italian and international banks including Societe Generale, Unicredit Medio Credito Centrale and Dexia.

At all of the Sol.In.Build sites, SunPower will install SunPower panels on fixed-tilt system technology, and SunPower T0 Tracker systems. Fixed tilt systems will be used in areas with steep slopes and uneven terrain to optimise land use in those areas, reports the company. The T0 Tracker tracks the sun during the day to maximise energy delivery, and requires only half the land area to produce the same amount of energy as conventional dual-axis trackers. Both technologies feature a modular design for fast, easy installation.

"High-efficiency SunPower technology at these sites will minimise land use and maximise the amount of reliable, emission-free solar power generated per hectare, which is one of the priorities of Veronagest and the Sicily region," said SunPower Vice President Gian Maria Ferrero. "This is the largest solar project to be financed in Italy this year, which underscores financier confidence in SunPower's technology and experience."

The 7 power plants will be built in the Sicilian municipalities of Cerami, Licata, Caltanissetta, Calamonaci, Mussomeli and Cammarata.

SunPower has more than 200 MW of solar power plants operating globally today, including Italy's largest solar power plant, the 24 MW plant in Montalto di Castro. SunPower recently finalised the acquisition of SunRay Renewable Energy, a leading European solar power plant developer with a principle project office in Rome.

With the acquisition, SunPower expanded its pipeline of solar PV projects to more than 1,200 MW in Italy, France, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece, markets which could be poised for growth as storm clouds gather round long-standing markets like Germany, and the USA continues to take time to develop.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity