14 June 2012

Soitec completes construction and grid connection of Italy’s largest CPV plant

Soitec of Bernin, France, which makes engineered substrates including silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (as well as III-V epiwafers through its Picogiga International division), has completed construction and grid connection for the largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant in Italy. Located in the Belpasso municipality in Catania province in Sicily, the 1.17-megawatt-peak (MWp) facility is now ready to generate electricity for the local power grid, paving the way for other CPV plants to be developed in Italy, it is expected.

Equipped with 74 of Soitec’s CPV trackers (each using 168 Concentrix CPV modules along with two central inverters of 500kW each to ensure reliable power distribution to the grid), local Italian construction companies provided engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services for the solar power plant, while central-inverter technology was provided by global energy management specialist Schneider Electric.

Fully owned and operated by Soitec, the new utility-scale solar plant will supply electricity to Enel, Italy’s largest power company. It will generate enough electricity to supply about 300 homes and is expected to offset more than 125 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Operating at higher solar energy conversion efficiency than conventional solar PV panels, Soitec says that its systems maximize energy production throughout the day by incorporating multi-junction solar cells and dual-axis tracking systems that maintain an optimal angle to the sun, adding that CPV is the most attractive solar technology in high solar resource regions around the globe.

“Completing this solar power plant marks a major milestone for Soitec in Italy while also demonstrating all of CPV’s advantages in this part of the world,” says Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of Soitec’s Solar Energy division. “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,” he adds. “We are uniquely positioned with a cost-effective power generation technology at high levels of efficiency and committed to developing this market in Italy.”

Tags: Soitec CPV

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