DALLAS & CAGLIARI, Italy--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A greenhouse nearing completion in Italy will tap the sun’s energy to grow crops while generating electricity from its roof-mounted photovoltaic modules in a project co-owned by clean energy developer Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited (MBCEL) and GE (NYSE: GE) unit GE Energy Financial Services. The companies announced today at Solar Power International, a major industry trade show and conference in Dallas, Texas, that GE Energy Financial Services has invested US$58 million in the 20-megawatt project near Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy.
The greenhouse solar power project’s first five megawatts began providing power to Italy’s national electrical grid operator on Aug. 30, and 15 more megawatts are expected to go into service by the end of this month. The project -- known as “Su Scioffu” – is in Villasor, a 7,000 member community economically suffering from the closure of a sugar factory. With its greenhouse operations, the project will support employment and agriculture by adding up to 90 jobs. The total project’s 20 megawatts will generate enough electricity to power approximately 10,000 Italian homes, and it will avoid more than 25,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
The greenhouse, located on 66 acres, will help Italy, which installed more solar power in 2010 than any other country except Germany, achieve its target of generating 23 gigawatts from the sun by 2016.
Lalit Jain, chief executive officer of MBCEL’s Wind and International Solar business, said: “This project demonstrates how solar power technology can produce multiple benefits from a single site. We are doubling the productivity of the land by growing crops and generating electricity.”
For its part, GE sees its investment as part of its growth in renewable energy investing, which already includes nearly $1 billion of solar power equity and debt investments in 46 projects in six countries.
“This transaction reflects our commitment to investing in Europe with good partners in good projects, despite the economic challenges facing the region and beyond,” said Andrew Marsden, a managing director and European leader at GE Energy Financial Services. “It also demonstrates our interest in investing in development-stage projects, particularly those consistent with GE’s ecomagination program.” Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to create value for customers by solving energy, efficiency and water challenges.
Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited (MBCEL) was established in 2008 with a strategy to undertake development of renewable power projects worldwide. MBCEL is a project developer, owner and operator of solar power projects globally and in India. It is currently the largest solar power development company in India and one of the largest solar power development companies globally. It has a vision of developing a portfolio of 1500 MW of solar energy in India by 2015. The company has a portfolio of another 200 MWp of projects under various stages of development in Europe to be completed by 2012. Significantly, MBCEL has already commissioned in India 35 MWp Solar PV projects in Gujrat and Tamil Nadu and has 47 MWp Solar PV projects operational in Germany, the UK, Italy and elsewhere. Besides Solar, MBCEL is in the business of developing Wind and Biomass projects. Website: http://www.moserbaerprojects.com/solarpower-overview.asp
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally across the capital spectrum in essential, long-lived, and capital-intensive energy assets that meet the world’s energy needs. In addition to capital, GE Energy Financial Services offers the best of GE.’s technical know-how, technology innovation, financial strength, and rigorous risk management. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, the GE business unit helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships, and optimization of its approximately US $20 billion in assets. For more information, visit http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.ge.com.