SunRay Renewable Energy and SunPower Corp., a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems are building a 24-megawatt solar electric power plant in Montalto di Castro, Italy. The 80-hectare Montalto di Castro solar project is being financed by a consortium of primary international and Italian banks and, upon its completion at year-end, will be the largest operating solar power plant in Italy.
The plant began construction earlier this year, and has created more than 200 local jobs. The clean, renewable solar power generated by the plant will provide electricity locally, and contribute to Italy’s national electric grid. The site will also have a fully equipped visitor center focusing on the education of the local community and school children about renewable energy.
“In addition to delivering commercial benefits to the community, Montalto di Castro is designed to integrate seamlessly into the surrounding countryside and preserve the local ecosystem,” said Giora Salita, head of business development for SunRay. “SunPower’s unrivaled global experience in the design and construction of solar power plants will help ensure that the finished project is the pride of the local community today and for many generations in the future.”
SunRay is the developer and owner of the project and selected SunPower to design and construct the power plant and provide on-going operations and maintenance services. SunPower is installing SunPower panels, the most efficient solar panels commercially available, and the proprietary SunPower Tracker technology at the site. The Tracker follows the sun during the day and delivers up to 25 percent more energy than fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land use requirements. This project is the first phase of a planned 100-megawatt development that is expected to be fully operational in 2010.
“The Montalto di Castro project is an important milestone for our industry, confirming solar power plants are financeable today when you combine a world-class developer with an industry-leader offering technology and unparalleled experience in solar power design and construction,” said SunPower European Sales Director, Mario Riello. “We are very pleased to partner with SunRay to deliver clean, reliable solar power to the community and to the rapidly expanding Italian market.”
SunPower has installed more than 200 megawatts of solar power plants globally, including a 5-megawatt plant in Tolentino, Italy, and the 18-megawatt Olivenza plant in Spain. The company’s Italian operations are located in Milan and Faenza.
SunRay Renewable Energy is an energy company – an independent solar power producer – with broad skills across the photovoltaic project development value chain. SunRay has built an internationally scalable project development platform which includes engineering, legal and project finance capability. It focuses on utility-scale projects in Southern European countries, using a community-based development model to ensure that its plants are adapted to local community needs. SunRay has a strategic partnership with Denham Capital, a global private equity firm, to develop over 300MW of solar projects by the end of 2012. With headquarters in Malta, SunRay has offices in Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Israel and the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. designs, manufactures and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company’s experience and proven results to maximize return on investment. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
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