SunPower builds Italy’s largest solar power plant in Montalto di Castro

The seamless cooperation between the project's various stakeholders made it possible to create something the next generation can be proud of.”

– Giora Salita, Head of Business Development, SunRay Renewable Energy

Until recently, Montalto di Castro, located 100 km north of Rome, was known mainly for its never-completed nuclear power plant, but now it has become the site of a historic event: the opening of the largest photovoltaic power plant in Italy to date. Thanks to the efforts of SunRay Renewable Energy, a leading European solar power plant developer, Montalto di Castro is now equipped with energy generation capacity that will meet the needs of at least 3,000 families.

SunRay involved the local community in the PV plant design from the outset, working together to meet local demands while also explaining the advantages of SunPower® high-efficiency technology. The plant was built and connected to the grid in record time. Installation began in February 2009 and was completed in December of the same year. To finance the project, SunRay raised €120m in project finance – one of the largest solar project finance transactions in Europe in 2009.

SunPower and SunRay Work in Synergy to Create a Showcase Solar Plant

SunRay provides local communities with a valuable opportunity to secure significant social benefits through the adoption of renewable energies. Achieving this goal means working closely together to listen to and address concerns about the potential impact of a PV plant on the community. This includes minimizing the environmental impact of the plant, preserving the Etruscan archaeological remains and retaining the long-term agricultural use of the land by avoiding the use of concrete foundations. Given the strict land constraints, SunPower high-efficiency modules allowed SunRay to fit 24MW onto the site – well above what was possible with with conventional technologies. The terrain was well-suited to the use of SunPower trackers, and only a limited amount of soil was moved to create flat terraces. Financing also had to be secured by presenting a viable project that met high professional standards.

SunPower: Always the Winning Choice

SunPower was chosen for its superior technology, its proven track record and because its T0 Trackers produce up to 25% more energy than fixed tilt systems, thus maximizing both energy production and return on investment. As an EPC contractor, SunPower designed and installed the plant and will be in charge of its maintenance for 20 years. SunRay is proud of what it has accomplished over such a short period of time. It advises other investors not to compromise on quality and to choose a partner with a solid professional reputation, an extremely important factor in securing financing from banking institutions.

Project Overview

Location:    Montalto di Castro (VT), Italy
Installation date:    December 2009
Type:    ground-mounted tracking system
Product:    SunPower® 305W panels with SunPower® T0 Trackers
Modules installed:    78,720
Surface area covered:    60 hectares
Installed power:    24 MWp
Energy produced by installation:    40 

  • Energy independence
  • Stimulation of the local economy
  • Carbon emissions saved: 22,000 tons
  • Site regeneration
  • Employment and training of local workers for maintenance positions
  • Promotion of environmental awareness in the community