Enel Green Power, known globally for its ambitious wind power projects including the biggest wind farm in Kansas, is about to leave its mark on the solar market as well. According to a report in Reuters, the company is planning to add two new concentrated solar power plants to its portfolio, a 30 MW plant in Sicily and a 25 MW plant that will power a desalination facility at a yet to be disclosed location in the Mediterranean region.
Vertical Integration in the Solar Power Market
The news of Enel’s planned foray into concentrated solar power follows close upon the official opening ceremony of a 160-MW capacity photovoltaic plant in Catania, a joint venture between the company, Sharp and STMicroelectronics. The plant’s capacity could rise to 480 MW to meet demand in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. To make sure that happens, Enel and Sharp have paired up to develop more than 500 MW of solar installations by 2016, which will of course use photovoltaic panels made in the Catania plant and employ Enel’s franchise network of more than 570 installers. One of the first candidates could be the plant itself, with a planned 1 MW rooftop solar array using panels made on-site.
Green Jobs for Italy
Indicating the new photovoltaic plant’s importance for the regional economy, the official opening ceremony was attended by the presidents of Sicily and Catania Province, as well as the Mayor of Catania. Between the plant workers, sales, and installation network, that’s a lot of hands put to work. It’s also worth considering that the availability of a large scale, secure, stable energy source – compared to the volatile and uncertain fossil fuel market – could make Italy a go-to destination for energy intensive projects such as desalination.
Image: Coliseum in Rome by ryarwood on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.