Denmark’s European Energy acquires largest PV project in Italy

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Finding a site and securing approval for a PV power project with a capacity of more than 20-30 MW in Italy is no simple task, especially in the sunny southern region of Apulia, already home to the largest proportion of ground-mounted solar facilities in the country.

But with successful large-scale plants offering an attractive investment, Danish renewable energy company European Energy has told pv magazine it has acquired ASI Troia FV1, a special purpose company owning a 123 MW solar project in Troia, in the province of Foggia, as reported by local media.

The developer said it has made no final investment decision but added: “We aim to construct it this year.”

The project had been approved by Apulia’s regional government in 2011, when the Conto Energia FIT program was still running. When the incentive scheme closed, the project appeared doomed to failure. But with “grid-parity” solar becoming viable in Italy in the last two years, interest in large-scale projects has revived.

Approval had lapsed

The lapsed ASI Troia FV1 project regained approval through legal action in mid-June, after the regional government had initially extended its permissions only for them to subsequently be canceled. In a document published in late November, the regional administration said, after the Regional Administrative Court of Apulia (TAR) ruled in favor of reinstatement of approval for the project, the company will have to build it within 17 months. That means European Energy have until the end of June next year to connect the solar park to the grid.

The project will probably sell power through a bilateral PPA. European Energy last month announced it had secured a 12-year agreement from Axpo Italia – the local unit of Swiss energy provider Axpo – for around 300 MW of solar power. “The length and the price of the agreement ensures bankability, which will allow us to realize substantial parts of our Italian project pipeline,” said European Energy CEO Knud Erik Andersen at the time. He said most of the projects concerned were in Apulia and Sicily.

The Italian PV market has seen an increasing number of solar PPA announcements in recent months, as well as new pipelines of grid-parity projects.