French utility ENGIE has launched a 66-MWp agrovoltaic park in Sicily, Italy to power Amazon’s operations in the country.
Initially announced in 2021, the park spans 115 hectares and is sited in an agricultural area between the towns of Marsala and Mazara del Vallo. The project combines solar panels for renewable energy generation with agricultural farming.
The electricity generated will be supplied to the Italian national grid and contribute to powering Amazon's activities in Italy.
Agrivoltaic parks are designed to optimize land use efficiency by raising photovoltaic panels high above the ground, allowing agricultural practices to continue below. The Mazara del Vallo park features double-sided solar panel technology mounted on single-axis trackers.
This configuration enables the panels to capture both direct and reflected light from the surrounding fields, resulting in improved energy generation, according to the developers.
The use of bifacial solar panels and trackers minimizes the land required for the solar plant while maximizing agricultural cultivation. During the park’s construction in Mazara del Vallo, 150 individuals were employed.
The cultivated area within the park will consist of native plants like almonds, olive, and lavender trees, and aromatic and medicinal crops.
According to the e-commerce giant, this is the first agrovoltaic project in Italy to be based on a corporate power purchase agreement contract between two private companies. Additionally, it marks the first of two agrovoltaic parks planned by ENGIE and Amazon.
The second park, located in Paternò, Sicily, is expected to begin energy production by the end of this year. Together, the two parks will have a combined production capacity of 104 MWp. According to an ENGIE study, these facilities will help avoid over 62,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.
“Despite the context of the global crisis, we have continued on our decarbonization path towards the energy transition. For ENGIE, this agrovoltaic plant in Mazara del Vallo is fully consistent with our strategy in Italy and in the world,” says Monica Iacono, CEO of ENGIE Italia. “We have today 500 MW of renewable installed capacity in Italy, and our plan is to reach 2 GW in 2030 between wind and photovoltaic plants.”
Amazon has a portfolio of over 400 renewable energy projects in 22 countries, including 128 projects in Europe. In Italy, the e-commerce giant has announced 22 renewable energy projects, including 19 rooftop solar installations, with a total production capacity of 115 MWac, capable of powering more than 90,000 Italian homes.
By the end of 2021, Amazon achieved an 85 percent renewable energy supply across its operations and is on track to power its operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Some of that supply is through virtual power purchase agreements in which the energy generated does not necessarily go directly to the company, but the investment funds develop of the lower carbon resource projects.