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Lightsource BP acquires three Italian solar projects

BP has boosted its utility scale solar portfolio in Italy by acquiring three projects with a total installed capacity of 156 megawatt peak (MWp).

Through its subsidiary Lightsource BP, the oil and gas major has taken on the plants from Palermo-based solar developer Horizon Firm.

Two of the projects are based in Sicily, in a low solar plant massification density area in the province of Agrigento.

The Canicattì project and the Torre di Mastro project have an installed capacity of 40.9 MWp and 58.2 MWp respectively.

The third development, Manfredonia (57.4 MWp), is based in Apulia in the south of Italy.

It will be established as an agri-pv project, meaning it will integrate agriculture and renewable energy.

The three solar developments are expected to reach ready-to-build status in 2022 and will remain in place for more than 30 years.

Lightsource BP has also entered into an exclusive agreement with Horizon Firm to acquire an additional 130MWp of solar projects – the transaction is expected to be completed in the next few months.

The two companies will explore the potential benefits of adding an energy storage system, which could 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.

Pollinator and Agri-PV opportunities

With more than a decade’s experience managing solar sites, Lightsource BP’s in-house team has developed dual-land use initiatives at developments.

That includes improving pollinator habitats, bee farming, grassland management for animal feed and grazing of small livestock – the firm plans to implement these across its developments in Italy.

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, while in the long run, 3,700 olive trees will be planted around the site.

Lightsource BP said it will work closely in partnership with agricultural groups and members to establish these additional features of the project over time.

Local economic development and job creation

Lightsource BP is planning to invest 105 million euros (£90m) locally through these projects, including the procurement of local services and the creation of 1,300 green jobs in construction, land management, agricultural activities, and engineering.

It is also exploring delivering opportunities for training and skills development for younger generations in partnership with Horizon Firm.

Giovanni Mascari, in-country lead for Italy at Lightsource BP, said: “We acquired this portfolio from Horizon Firm because these projects have been sensitively planned around local ecological and heritage values.

“We intend to build on this good work to demonstrate that solar projects can create opportunities to meet climate goals whilst addressing local economic growth and enabling diversification of income for the agriculture sector.

“We look forward to working closely with local authorities and agriculture specialists to further establish our plans for these projects.”

Christian Chiaruzzi and Agostino Costantino, partners and directors at Horizon Firm, added: “We strongly believe that shifting to a low carbon economy which integrates agriculture and renewable energy is an effective way to achieve the joint goals of the ecological transition and decarbonisation.

“We are very proud to partner with Lightsource BP in the development of these projects. In the last 10 years, we have fully dedicated our personal and professional resources, leveraging on the expertise of our company, to shape a better and cleaner economy.

“We are very satisfied to contribute to a more sustainable world for future generations, by combining renewable energy, rural economy and environmental protection.

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2021-05-06 06:43:41

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