At Montalto, the future is solar

Published on Thursday, 17 February 2022

The Montalto di Castro power plant is set to house a factory to produce trackers, the devices that enable photovoltaic panels to turn and track the sun throughout the day. The site is going to be playing a leading role in the energy transition.

The facility will be called Sun Hunter and will be built and managed by Comal S.p.A., a company that specializes in designing, constructing and maintaining solar energy production plants, with premises in Montalto di Castro in the province of Viterbo.

The agreement we have just signed with Comal is a milestone in the history of the plant, which is named after the pioneer of electricity, Alessandro Volta. Originally designed as a nuclear power plant, it was converted to thermoelectric production before entering into operation in 1992. In May 2016, a public call for proposals was launched for the redevelopment of the site, and demolition is currently underway of the oil burning units that have already been decommissioned. In the first months of 2022, preliminary activities will begin for the creation of the new factory, which will be situated on a site spanning over 30,000 square meters that is no longer used for energy production activities.

Once again, environmental sustainability goes hand in hand with economic and social sustainability: the Comal factory will create up to 70 jobs, providing employment opportunities for people who worked at the power plant and in related activities in the area, while also contributing to the development of a national supply chain for renewables and sustainable technologies.

 “The agreement with Comal and the new development of the site in Montalto di Castro clearly demonstrate the positive effects of the energy transition for businesses, the local area and the country,” commented Luca Solfaroli Camillocci, Head of Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation Italy, who added, “The virtuous cycle of the growth of renewable sources, the development of a nationwide production chain for sustainable technologies and the reuse of assets as part of our circular economy approach makes it possible to generate shared value and new opportunities.”

The creation of the factory will be just one of the developments on the site of the plant: we have already begun the authorization process to install a photovoltaic plant with a capacity of around 10 MW, while other areas will host energy storage systems with a capacity of around 245 MW. We are also working with local institutions to study further solutions, including an innovative project to create a hydroponic greenhouse.

Furthermore, in line with the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) and the needs of the current phase of the energy transition, a part of the gas turbine plant on the site will remain active and will be renovated and made more efficient in order to support the stability of the electricity system.

The new role of the site, which will become the largest of our multifunctional energy hubs in Italy, is part of our strategy to give new life to decommissioned thermoelectric plants, thereby advancing the circular economy and creating shared value with the local area.

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