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Soitec completes largest CPV plant in Italy


June 15, 2012

Soitec has announced the completion of Italy's largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) plant, with a 1.17 megawatt-peak (MWp) capacity - enough to power 300 homes

Soitec has announced the completion of Italy's largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) plant, with a 1.17 megawatt-peak (MWp) capacity - enough to power 300 homes

Soitec, a specialist in semiconductor materials for the electronic and energy industries, announced that it has completed the construction and grid connection of Italy’s largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant. The announcement was made in the context of the Intersolar Europe Trade Show in Munich, which took place this week (June 11-15). The 1.17 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar farm, located in Belpasso in Sicily, will power 300 homes and is expected to prevent the emission of more than 125 tons (113 tonnes) of carbon dioxide per year.

CPV is a more efficient way of converting sunlight to electricity, as production is maximized with the help of multi-junction solar cells and dual-axis tracking systems that maintain an optimal angle to the sun. It is particularly good for high solar resource regions such as Italy and Spain (cloudy and overcast conditions are not conducive to CPV), and generates more power than conventional silicon PV panels.

The Belpasso plant is equipped with 74 Soitec CPV trackers and each one of them use 168 Concentrix CPV modules, besides two 500 kW central inverters that ensure consistent power distribution to the grid.

CPV systems are cheaper than conventional flat panel systems because concentration means that a smaller area of solar cells is required. In order to operate efficiently, the solar cell needs to be kept cool with heat sinks as efficiency goes down when the temperature goes up.

The plant will supply electricity to Enel, Italy’s largest power company. “This project has allowed us to show that CPV’s leading efficiency and ability to provide a steady, long-term energy supply without consuming excessive amounts of land and water make it exactly the right technology for Italy,” said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec’ Solar Energy division.

Source: Soitec

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology. All articles by Antonio Pasolini

Looking at the surroundings of the installation I can't help but think that a less "green" area could have been selected for the site, like a desert. Wait, there are none in Western Europe. I suppose sacrificing farm land to energy needs was more politically expedient. Doesn't Italy have plenty of coastline? Perhaps hydroelectric farms may be more suitable?


It would be nice if they would build these things over ground that was already paved. I mean how much more would it have cost to put them on concrete pillars that would also support streetlights?


Two thoughts: I think it is somewhat fitting that in the one picture of the plant, it is actually in the shadows... Which is the reason for my scepticism about this. The peak power given is just that: peak power. I would like to know the average power produced, which is much more telling about whether it is actually economical. For emmanuelle: Italy needs its beaches for tourism. They make more money from that than from farming.


I'm sure this project will help stop Italy going bankrupt..


I have to agree with emmanuelle1000.

This project is complete bs if it concerns "green". The only idea it has is to create more money than the beautiful green landscape did before. Lets tear down all our forests and plant em full of solar panels, energy for everyone at a premium price!


Philippe Heeren
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