Milan, 21 December 2023 – Renantis has added 9.7 MW of new solar capacity with its agrivoltaic project in Scicli (Sicily) reaching commercial operations.
The Scicli plant – covering a 22-hectare site – is expected to produce around 20 GWh of renewable energy per year, equivalent to the needs of more than five thousand households. Over 75% of the site is used for photovoltaics and crops, while the remainder is dedicated to the planting of crops.
Situated in the Landolina district of Scicli village, in the province of Ragusa, Sicily, the project is built on uncultivated land. The plant is breathing new life into this land, maximising use of the site thanks to the combination of agricultural production and renewable energy.
To preserve the authenticity of the local environment, native crops will be grown on the site. The plans for planting have been designed in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the University of Catania – with whom Renantis has built a strong collaboration. Fruit trees, medicinal herbs, and polyphytic grass for grazing sheep are planted, and the site is ready to host bee keeping activities for the production of honey and hive products.
The agricultural activity will be managed by a local cooperative. This project will deliver many benefits to the area, building on its historical significance and creating job opportunities locally.
Renantis conceived the project with a strong community engagement approach thanks to programs for the local community and the local school. Opportunities were created for locals to invest in the project, fruitful relationships with academia were built, and a strong focus on the development of the local supply chain and partnerships with local farmers were prioritised.
At the centre of Renantis’ sustainability approach is the concept of giving back to the communities around our plants. And Scicli project is no different. Renantis set up a community benefit scheme, establishing an annual fund to support local initiatives in the Municipality of Scicli and a scholarship programme to support professionals studying renewable technologies and energy sustainability. Moreover, the Group has worked closely with “Istituto Cataudella” of Scicli, organising a training course for high school students to acquire skills related to sustainable business and agrivoltaic integration.
Additionally, the lending crowdfunding initiative, that took place at the end of 2021, gave local people the opportunity to benefit from a profitable, sustainable, and secure investment. This initiative made it possible for individuals to invest in the construction of the plant with investments ranging from 200 to 10 thousand euros. Investors receive an annual return up to 6% on the original loan for ten years, with the possibility of full recovery of the capital paid even in the event of early exit.
The campaign had a significant response, with over 180 thousand euro invested from 68 investors. The project was awarded the “L’Italia che verrà” UnipolSai prize for the ability to valorise the local economic, social, cultural and geographical context by creating a positive impact on local communities.
In cooperation with the University of Palermo, Renantis will establish five scholarships, worth up to EUR 2,000 each, for students in the University’s undergraduate course in energy and renewable energy engineering, who graduate with a thesis on renewable energy.
“The activities aimed at the local community of Scicli started with the development of the project. They then continued with the construction and now that the park is in operation they will continue, further strengthening the connection between Renantis and the area that hosts us. Value sharing is part of our DNA and we aim to bring value to all the places where we develop our renewable projects. Scicli has welcomed us, and we are happy to have given this magnificent place a clean energy production plant and new life to this land, to have developed activities for schools, collaborations with universities and the municipality, and to have offered an innovative investment tool to citizens,” commented Giangiacomo Altobelli, Renantis’ community relations manager in Italy.
Scicli’s mayor Mario Marino commented: “Scicli is proud to align itself with the production of environmental benefits, playing a role in the energy transition in collaboration with international players that allow our area to become an economic vanguard. The application of innovative agrivoltaic integrated development solutions combines clean energy generation with traditional agricultural production uses. The connection between the Scicli community and the multinational Renantis is a modern project of social sustainability.”