SunPower to build 100MW solar power plant; largest in Italy

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The Italian photovoltaics market has just heated-up with news that SunPower is to supply solar modules, trackers and project management services at a 100MW power plant to built in Montalto di Castro, Italy with completion of a 24MW first phase expected by the end of the year. The project is planned to be a 100MW development that is expected to be fully operational in 2010. This would make the new solar power plant, easily the largest in Italy and a major project in Europe. The project is being financed by a consortium of both international and Italian banks, according to SunPower. The project is being built in collaboration with SunRay Renewable Energy, which will own the plant.

“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,” noted Giora Salita, Head of Business Development for SunRay.

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“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,” commented Mario Riello European Sales Director for SunPower.

SunPower has noted in several quarterly conference calls that it expected to see growing business from the emerging Italian market but had not announced any significant projects in the country. Competitors such as Suntech had already announced multiple projects in Italy for 2009, potentially capturing significant market share. SunPower had previously built a 5MW solar plant in Tolentino, Italy.

PV installations in Italy, while growing year-on-year had been falling in the second-half of 2009. The new project at Montalto di Castro would indicate that installation activity would once again rise later in the year, a similar trend as was seen in 2008.

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