Soitec completes concentrated photovoltaic solar power plant in Italy

Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, announced today it has completed construction and grid connection for the largest concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant in Italy. Located in the Belpasso municipality in the Catania province in Sicily, the highly efficient, 1.17-megawatt-peak (MWp) facility is now ready to generate clean, reliable electricity for the local power grid for decades to come and paves the way for many other CPV plants to be developed in Italy.

The new utility-scale power plant will generate enough electricity to supply approximately 300 homes per year and is expected to offset more than 125 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions per year. It is equipped with 74 of Soitec’s high-efficiency CPV trackers, each using 168 Concentrix(TM) CPV modules, along with two central inverters of 500 kW each to ensure reliable power distribution to the grid. Operating at higher efficiency than conventional solar PV panels in converting sunlight into electricity, Soitec’s 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. 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," said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec’ 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. We are uniquely positioned with a cost-effective power generation technology at high levels of efficiency and committed to developing this market in Italy."

Fully owned and operated by Soitec, the new solar plant will supply electricity to Enel, Italy’s largest power company. Local Italian construction companies provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the solar power plant while efficient central-inverter technology was provided by Schneider Electric.

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV).

The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut(TM), Smart Stacking(TM) and Concentrix(TM), as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States.