Lightsource bp in Italy continues to boost its utility scale solar portfolio by acquiring three projects from Horizon Firm, a trusted developer specialized in solar, totalling 156 MWp across the country. (Logo quoted from Lightsource bp’s website)
Two of the projects are based in Sicily, in a low solar plant massification density area, in the province of Agrigento: the Canicattì project (40.9 MWp) and the Torre di Mastro project (58.2 MWp). The third project, Manfredonia (57.4 MWp), based in Apulia, will be developed as an Agri-PV with the aim of virtuously integrating agriculture and renewable energy. These projects cast light upon the two regions’ strategic roles for the development of RES in line with the national objectives of energy production and decarbonisation.
Horizon Firm’s expertise has been instrumental in identifying and selecting solar project sites that can be developed responsibly to protect local ecosystems and continue agricultural practices. Lightsource bp has also entered into an exclusivity agreement with Horizon Firm to acquire an additional 130MWp of solar projects and aims to complete this transaction in the next few months. Also, for these projects, the companies will explore the potential benefits of adding an energy storage system. As well as maximising clean energy production this could also help support the island’s electricity grid infrastructure.
This latest partnership with Horizon Firm brings Lightsource bp’s Italian solar development pipeline to over 1.5GWp, providing a significant contribution to the country’s long-term commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. These three projects are expected to reach ready-to-build status in 2022.
These solar developments are forecast to stay in place for over 30 years and address some of the key challenges around the decarbonisation process. In fact, as the Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, has stressed several times, that the strong advancement of RES represents one of the pillars to reach the ambitious European and national renewable energy growth goals.
Pollinator and Agri-PV opportunities create additional income for the agriculture sector
Lightsource bp has over 10 years’ experience in managing solar sites, their in–house team have developed dual-land use initiatives such as improving pollinator habitats, bee farming, grassland management for animal feed and grazing of small livestock and will look to implement these activities across its solar developments in Italy.
For example, in Apulia, the entire land area of the Manfredonia solar project (104 hectares) will offer both immediate and long-term opportunities to boost biodiversity and create diversified income for local rural businesses. Initially, enhanced pollinator habitats and bee farming will be established within the first five years. In the long term, 3700 olive trees will be planted around the site boundary for harvesting and other local economic opportunities. Lightsource bp will work closely in partnership with agricultural community groups and members to establish these additional features of the solar project over time.
Local economic development and job creation
Lightsource bp intends to invest 105 million euros locally through these projects, which also includes procurement of local services and the creation of 1300 green jobs in construction, land management, agricultural activities, and engineering. Through the collaboration with Horizon Firm, opportunities for training and skills development for younger generations are also being explored.
Lightsource bp has been actively working in Italy since 2018, and most recently in February 2021 announced its local project development pipeline reached 1.2 GW through a Sicilian acquisition.