- Cero Generation (Cero) has reached financial close on a 48 MW agrivoltaic solar PV project in Italy, bringing Cero’s total Italian operational or in construction capacity to 133 MW
- The project will produce clean energy while enhancing sustainable food production, supporting Italy’s goals to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2030
- With over 1.5 GW of solar PV capacity under development in Italy and 9 GW in total, Cero has one of the largest solar PV development portfolios in Europe
London, UK – Building on the momentum from its 70 MW agrivoltaic PV project which is currently in construction, Cero, a leading solar energy developer working across Europe, has announced the financial close of an additional 48 MW agrivoltaic solar PV project in Italy. Located in the Municipality of Montalto di Castro, province of Viterbo in the Lazio region, the plant is planned to be operational by the end of 2023. This boosts the total Italian capacity brought to financial close to 133 MW, the majority of which are agrivoltaic, reflecting Cero’s firm commitment to innovation and efficiency in land usage.
As the second of Cero’s large-scale agrivoltaic plants in the country, the project – known as Castrum – will produce clean energy for the region, while also enhancing sustainable food production. Once completed, it will generate enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of over 32,000 homes, improving air quality and avoiding 28,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year. Alongside this, at least 65% of the 87 hectares that Castrum sits on will also be used for agricultural crops.
Co-locating solar and crop farming can provide many benefits. It can optimise agricultural production by reducing water consumption, increasing light availability, and providing protection from adverse weather. The overall efficiency of the solar PV plant can also be increased, as agricultural integration regulates ground temperature, keeping the modules cooler.
This simultaneous use of arable land is an increasingly important approach for achieving a net-zero future. The project represents a meaningful step towards Italy’s targets to install over 50 GW of solar PV and cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2030, and in creating a secure, home-grown energy system for the country.
Today’s announcement follows on from the financial close of Cero’s 70 MW agrivoltaic solar PV project in the Province of Latina earlier this year and adds to the 1.5+ GW of solar PV capacity the company has under development in Italy. Cero is working with EPC contractor Bester New Energy, who are using local subcontractors during the construction phase of Castrum, bringing jobs to the local area and supporting the local economy.
The project’s revenues are underpinned by a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Centrica Energy Trading, making it one of the few PPA project financings in Italy and placing Cero at the forefront of the shift to subsidy-free solar PV projects in the country. PPAs provide revenue certainty for the asset and offer the final consumer immediate access to cheaper, clean energy.
Cero worked with banking partners Bayern LB, Siemens Financial Services through Siemens Bank, and Banco Santander to develop the financing. Cero was advised by Ashurst and ValeCap, and the banking partners were advised by Gianni & Origoni (legal), RINA (technical advisory).
“We’re proud to be expanding our work in Italy and helping push the country’s green transition forward. As the climate crisis threatens global food, energy, and water systems, it is imperative that we look to solutions that are secure, dynamic, and sustainable. By both producing clean energy and supporting agriculture, photovoltaic projects like this will play a crucial role and we’re excited to continue to bring these innovative solutions to the table across Italy and Europe more widely.”
Marta Martinez Queimadelos, CEO, Cero Generation
About Cero Generation
Cero Generation is a leading solar energy company, working across Europe to support the transition to a net-zero future, for this and every generation.
Active throughout the project lifecycle, from development through to construction and operations, its highly experienced team collaborates with local partners to bring world-class industrial, commercial and technical expertise to our projects.
Cero’s 9 GW solar development portfolio is one of the largest in Europe, covering both utility-scale and on-site generation projects, as well as integrated energy storage solutions. Dedicated to delivering high-quality, high-performing assets, Cero provides corporate and industrial clients with the solutions to accelerate their pathway to a net-zero future.
Cero is an independent portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) operating on a stand-alone basis.