Construction work at Falck Renewables’ agrivoltaic plant in Landolina, Scicli (province of Ragusa, Sicily, Italy) has now started.
The 9.7 MW plant will combine agricultural and livestock production with renewable energy, on land that has been left uncultivated for the last 20 years. Once operational it is estimated the plant will produce around 20 GWh of renewable energy, equivalent to the needs of about five thousand households. The plant is due to be operational around the end of the third quarter of this year. The project will cover a 22-hectare site with 17 hectares used for photovoltaics and crops and five hectares dedicated solely to planting.
Native crops which will be grown on the site have been chosen with the help of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the University of Catania and include fruit trees, medicinal herbs, and polyphytic grass for grazing sheep, keeping bees and producing honey and hive products. The agricultural activity will be managed by local enterprises, with benefits for the whole historically significant area, including the Unesco heritage town of Scicli.
In the months leading up to the start of construction, Falck Renewables developed a sustainable entrepreneurship project with two classes from Scicli's Cataudella High School. The students involved developed innovative ideas on managing the agricultural activity in the park, which will be shared with the local businesses growing the crops.
The plant was part of the Falck Renewables’ "Coltiviamo energia" (Let’s grow energy!) lending crowdfunding programme which provided the people of Scicli and Sicilian residents with the opportunity to share in the value generated by the agrivoltaic plant, with annual yields of up to 6% on initial investments. Over 60 days from its launch in October last year, the crowdfunding campaign raised 178,861 euros from a total of 68 investors, winning the "L’Italia che verrà" award from UnipolSai.
"The start of construction at Scicli agrivoltaic plant is an important achievement and the result of collaboration with the local community. This is our first renewable energy project in Italy in over a decade and we are proud to be building a plant that combines clean energy production and agricultural activity, creating value for people of Scicli and the Sicilian community and working with local suppliers to create a short supply chain that provides employment in the area, in a sustainable way", said Carlo Gargano, area manager Sicily for Falck Renewables.