PV Investment Grade: Grid Parity begins in Italy

Silvia Storariby Silvia Storari (guest post), , 0 Comments

More than 300 people attended the SMA Italia Conference, held in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group.


Large numbers gathered at the Politecnico di Milano’s Carassa-Dadda Auditorium on Tuesday, 11 July, to attend a presentation about the Montalto di Castro project, which is the largest Italian photovoltaic system to reach grid parity so far and one of Europe’s biggest.


The Montalto di Castro project, consisting of five photovoltaic plants, is a turning point for the photovoltaic scenario in Italy and Europe. Its high efficiency was achieved thanks to a careful design carried out in collaboration with SMA Italia’s engineering division. Another factor was the use of SMA Sunny Central CP-XT inverters which allowed a 10 percent reduction in the required installation space and a 20 percent reduction in installation time. The absence of communication cables and the 50 percent reduction in maintenance times made SMA’s Medium Voltage Power Station the perfect grid parity solution. The container solution combines the Sunny Central inverter with perfectly matched medium voltage technology.


SMA South Europe Regional Manager Valerio Natalizia said: “We have been talking about grid parity for several years. This scenario is no longer just theoretical, but it has finally become a reality. We are pleased with the result. The implementation of these plants has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the project’s technical and financial partners, who provided their skills and the most advanced technologies, for its design and implementation.”


The solar power plants in Montalto di Castro, Italy

The Montalto di Castro project consists of five solar power plants with a combined output of 63 MWp.


The Montalto di Castro plant has an annual performance rate of 84% with a target of 1,798 kWh / kWp and a MW peak cost of less than a million euros.

The project involved the construction of four 13.3 MWp plants and one of 10 MWp each with the names of the greatest Italian composers. It required 58 Sunny Central CP-XT inverters in 30 20″ cabins; laying 500 km string cables and inserting 40,000 poles into the ground to support 200,000 photovoltaic modules of 315-320 Wp. These were installed on 40 independent uniaxial trackers which cover more than 150 ha. These are just some of the numbers presented by SMA Italia and Comal Impianti during the conference.


During the event the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group described the prospects for photovoltaic development and economic sustainability in Italy, while Welink Energy Group explained the international investment opportunities. Green Trade was focused on the development in Italian energy prices and investigating new market scenarios. The dispatching market is evolving and offers the photovoltaic industry new opportunities as underlined by the Electricity, Gas and Water System Authority.


The production of electricity from photovoltaic sources in grid parity is now highly viable in Italy and SMA is at the forefront.


The conference documents are available for download on the SMA Italia website.


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