News Article

Italian Solar Acquisition Focusses On Local Biodiversity And Agricultural Benefits


bp in Italy continues to boost its utility scale solar portfolio by acquiring
three projects from Horizon Firm,
a trusted developer specialized in solar, totalling 156MWp across the country. Two of the projects
are based in Sicily, in a low solar plant massification density area, in the
province of Agrigento: the Canicattì project (40.9 MWp) and the Torre di Mastro
project (58.2 MWp). The third project, Manfredonia (57.4 MWp), based in Apulia,
will be developed as an Agri-PV with the aim of virtuously integrating
agriculture and renewable energy. These projects cast light upon the two
regions' strategic roles for the development of RES in line with the national
objectives of energy production and decarbonisation.

Firm's expertise has been instrumental in identifying and selecting solar
project sites that can be developed responsibly to protect local ecosystems and
continue agricultural practices. Lightsource bp has also entered into an
exclusivity agreement with Horizon Firm to acquire an additional 130MWp of
solar projects and aims to complete this transaction in the next few months.
Also, for these projects, the companies will explore the potential benefits of
adding an energy storage system. As well as maximising clean energy production
this could also help support the island's electricity grid infrastructure.

This latest partnership with Horizon Firm
brings Lightsource bp's Italian solar development pipeline to over 1.5GWp,
providing a significant contribution to the country's long-term commitment to achieve
net zero emissions by 2050
. These three projects are expected to
reach ready-to-build status in 2022.

These solar developments are forecast to stay
in place for over 30 years and address some of the key challenges around the
decarbonisation process. In fact, as the Minister of Ecological Transition,
Roberto Cingolani, has stressed several times, that the strong advancement of
RES represents one of the pillars to reach the ambitious European and national
renewable energy growth goals.

Pollinator and Agri-PV opportunities create
additional income for the agriculture sector

Lightsource bp has over 10 years' experience in
managing solar sites, their in-house team have developed dual-land use
initiatives such as improving pollinator habitats, bee farming, grassland
management for animal feed and grazing of small livestock and will look to
implement these activities across its solar developments in Italy.

For example, in Apulia, the entire land area of
the Manfredonia solar project (104 hectares) will offer both immediate
and long-term opportunities to boost biodiversity and create diversified income
for local rural businesses. Initially, enhanced pollinator habitats and bee
farming will be established within the first five years. On the long term, 3700
olive trees will be planted around the site boundary for harvesting and other
local economic opportunities. Lightsource bp will work closely in partnership
with agricultural community groups and members to establish these additional
features of the solar project over time.

Local economic development and job creation

Lightsource bp intends to invest 105 million
euros locally through these projects, which also includes procurement of local
services and the creation of 1300 green jobs in construction, land management,
agricultural activities, and engineering. Through the collaboration with
Horizon Firm, opportunities for training and skills development for younger
generations are also being explored.

Giovanni Mascari, In-Country
lead for Italy at
Lightsource bp, comments:

acquired this portfolio from Horizon Firm because these projects have been
sensitively planned around local ecological and heritage values. We intend to
build on this good work to demonstrate that solar projects can create
opportunities to meet climate goals whilst addressing local economic growth and
enabling diversification of income for the agriculture sector. We look forward
to working closely with local authorities and agriculture specialists to
further establish our plans for these projects.”

Christian Chiaruzzi and
Agostino Costantino, Partners and Directors at Horizon Firm:

strongly believe that shifting to a low carbon economy which integrates
agriculture and renewable energy is an effective way to achieve the joint goals
of the ecological transition and decarbonisation.

We are
very proud to partner with Lightsource bp in the development of these projects.
In the last 10 years, we have fully dedicated our personal and professional
resources, leveraging on the expertise of our company, to shape a better and
cleaner economy. We are very satisfied to contribute to a more sustainable
world for future generations, by combining renewable energy, rural economy and
environmental protection.”

bp has been actively working in Italy since 2018, and most recently in February
2021 announced its local project developm
reached 1.2GW through a Sicilian acquisition.

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