- NextEnergy Group is developing an agrivoltaics project in Italy with 86.6 MW solar and 23 MW BESS capacity
- The project is coming up in Giugliano, Campania on 140 hectares of land and equipped with bifacial modules and advanced trackers
- Project is aimed at generating solar energy and also improving land with the help of sowing and selecting seeds with land healing properties
- Improvement of the land at the end of solar plant’s life will help improve crop quality and yield
British solar investor and asset manager NextEnergy Group has unveiled a project including a 86.6 MW solar system with a 23 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) in Italy being developed by its project development arm Starlight, calling it an ‘innovative agri-eco-voltaic’ facility.
Christened Land of the Sun, the project has been developed specifically for Giugliano city in Campania which is a major agricultural producer. It is currently at an advanced stage of development and will cover around 140 hectares of space on completion.
Solar arrays with bifacial modules and advanced trackers, will be built over 2 meters above the ground with a distance of 4 to 6 meters between them. The entire plant will be surrounded by 10 meters perimeter green strips.
NextEnergy calls it an innovative project since it will generate and store solar power while sowing seeds as hemp with land healing properties to improve the growth cycle of the crop. At the end of the solar farm’s life, the land is aimed to be given back to the farmer in a much better condition which will improve crop yield and quality.
“The project will act as a filter between the most environmentally critical areas and the surrounding context, creating ecological corridors and new habitats, thanks to the correct design of green areas and the inclusion of a more sustainable agriculture and less dependent on water resources as well as the diversification of cultivated species to promote biodiversity,” stated NextEnergy.
Agronomic design will be carried out by Starlight in collaboration with an Italian growers association called Coldiretti and consultancy firm PSR and Innovazione Campania. The Italian Environmentalist Association Legambiente is also partnering the project to help promote innovative environmental interventions around sustainable energy development.
“The underlying concept of agri-eco-voltaics is fantastic, by taking an innovative photovoltaic system and combining it with modern and sustainable agriculture, we are able to maximize land use to help face the economic and social challenges of tomorrow,” added Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, NextEnergy Capital, Aldo Beolchini.
Italy recently opened a funding round for €1.5 billion to be allocated for 375 MW solar PV capacity for productive use in agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sectors (see Italy Opens Funding Round For 375 MW Agrisolar).