The project, located in the municipality of Caltagirone, in the province of Catania, is the result of a strategic agreement signed between Martifer Solar and the fund Copernico, managed by Finanziaria Internazionale Alternative Investment SGR (Finint).
Finint collaborated with its technical advisor Byom, which fully oversaw the Operational Management, during construction phase.
The plant was implemented in two separated phases and with two different connection points: on the 21st of April 2011 the first 3 MW were connected to the grid, and on the 27th of July 2011 the remaining 8 MW were connected, clearly ahead of schedule despite the negative impact of the Romani Decree and of the Fourth Conto Energia, both issued during construction phase.
This achievement is the result of a great effort made by Martifer Solar, operating as the main actor, but especially of the synergies among all the involved parties, who have acted as true partners, through a careful share of responsibilities and risks, without which the project would not have been so successful.
The modules used were produced by First Solar, with CdTe thin-film technology, which allows a great efficiency at high temperatures and during the hours of lower sun exposure. The inverters used, model PVI-330.0, were made by the US Company Power-One, a global leader in the production of inverters in the sector.
This is one of the largest PV plants built in Sicily, which will produce clean energy to supply the annual needs of nearly 5.000 families and will avoid the emission of about 8,900 t of CO2 per year. In the area of intervention several native species of plants (such as the carob tree, the hackberry and the olive tree) were cultivated for an optimal visual and environmental mitigation, in harmony with the surrounding local flora. This outcome demonstrates that it is possible to carry out ambitious engineering projects for the production of energy not harming public health, while using a renewable and inexhaustible source of energy such as solar, as well as guaranteeing a final product that respects nature.
The plant also helped creating a significant number of direct and indirect jobs, involving the local workforce in a region with a high unemployment rate, not only during the construction phase, but also in the 20-year perspective corresponding to the period of Operation & Maintenance (O&M)
, that will also be managed by Martifer Solar, in order to guarantee the right and full productivity of the plant.
According to Pedro Pereira, Regional Manager of Martifer Solar for the Mediterranean Area and Managing Director for Italy, "We believe, in contrast to the widespread common opinion, that photovoltaic energy should not be only developed through small and medium-sized rooftop installations, but that the contribution of large PV plants is quintessential to provide the country with highly reliable and efficient energy infrastructures, while also guaranteeing the reduction of system costs, so required to shorten the road to grid parity”.