REC sells Sardinia PV plants

The Systems unit of Norwegian PV group REC has recommitted itself to the Italian market in the post-feed-in tariff era, after selling four PV plants totalling 8MW on Sardinia to a European investor.

The buyer is IKAV Global Energy, an arm of a Luxembourg investment fund, which acquires European PV assets for its insurance and pension-fund shareholders.

The four ground-mount plants in Sardinia, which will produce 12.5MWh of power a year, represent a “very sound investment for the Fund”, says IKAV director Constantin von Wasserschleben.

Earlier this year Italy’s Conto Energia V incentive scheme for PV hit its ceiling, bringing an end to the country’s long-standing feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme, which has propelled it to near the top of the global PV league.

While Italian PV demand may never again reach the dizzying heights of a few years ago, the country is widely expected to become one of the first in the world to reach grid parity – and its net-metering scheme for systems up to 200kW will continue to drive downstream demand and innovation.

With its high solar irradiation, steadily rising electricity prices and solid record of experience with solar power, Italy remains a “viable long-term location” for PV going forward, says Matthias Ermer, managing director of REC Systems.

REC Systems is “ideally positioned for new opportunities in this evolving and other European markets”, says Ermer.

Like many PV manufacturers, REC is has pushed hard to diversify into downstream project development, building about 110MW since 2010, mainly in Europe – and with another 200MW or so due to come on line this year and next.

Last month REC announced plans to split itself into two new companies – REC Solar and REC Silicon. Both divisions exist currently within the Oslo-based REC Group, with the Systems unit included in REC Solar.

Under the spin-off plan, REC Solar will eventually see its headquarters moved to Singapore, with unknown consequences for the 50-person Systems unit.