Fotowatio consolidates its position as a reference among renewable energy companies around the world with successful projects in Italy and the U.S.

The Spanish firm Fotowatio has just clinched funding for the construction of 5 solar power plants in Italy. This operation, involving an investment of 24 million euros, marks the start of Fotowatio’s establishment in Italy as part of its global expansion plan.

The company, which last April purchased most of the assets of MMA Renewable Ventures, based in San Francisco, has also become one of the points of reference in the United States. President Obama confirmed this with his visit to the plant at the Nellis Air force Base , Nevada, where he announced that the solar energy plant operated by the Spanish Fotowatio company will be the model to follow in other U.S. cities and states.

In just one week Fotowatio has taken two giant steps in its strategy to consolidate its position as one of the world leaders in renewable energy related to the sun, more exactly, in the North American and Italian markets. The Spanish firm has just clinched funding for the construction of its first plants in Italy.

A total of 5 plants, each with an output of 1MW, will be built by Siliken Italia with fixed technology in polycrystalline silicon solar panels. Three of the plants will be built in the province of Lecce and two in the province of Taranto which belong to the region of Puglia in the south east of the Italian peninsula. This first operation by Fotowatio on Italian soil involves a total investment of 24 million euros and has the financial backing of the bank of Santander and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe.

The construction of these five plants will avoid the emission of 110,000 t of CO2 into the atmosphere and will satisfy the equivalent of the annual consumption of 1,400 families. Four of the plants are expected to be commissioned at the end of 2009 and the rest in the middle of 2010. With this operation, Fotowatio has put into practice its commitment to the transalpine market with this operation where it hopes to continue with its investment plan and the development of more solar power parks in the near future, as part of its global expansion plan.

Another major step for the company in its bid to lead the solar power industry was the visit on May 27 of President Obama to one of the plants operated by Fotowatio in the United States as part of his strategy to support renewable sources of energy. The 14 MW Nellis photovoltaic solar power plant is located at Nellis Air Base (Nevada) and is the largest producer of photovoltaic solar power in America. It occupies an area of over 50 hectares and its output is sufficient to meet 25% of the total energy needs of the base, one of the pillars of the North American defence system, on which over 12,000 people live and work. The Nellis air base is home to the most advanced air combat training centre in the world, known as the “U.S. Air Force Warfare Center”.

During his visit to the plant, President Obama made clear his support for renewable energy as a basis for the future, declaring: “We know very well the cost of our dependence on oil. So we have an option. We can continue to be the main importer of oil in the world, sending our money and wealth abroad, or we can convert ourselves in the biggest exporters of clean energy”. In addition, during his visit to the Nellis plant, the U.S. President announced that the Federal Government would invest 467 million dollars of the recent package to stimulate the economy in expanding and accelerating the development and use of solar and geothermal energy, and that as part of the recovery plan a programme is to be set up which will help to reproduce the success of the Nellis plant, operated by the Spanish Fotowatio company, in other U.S. cities and states.

Fotowatio is a global operator specialised in generating solar power. The company has over 135 MWp in operation, as well as a portfolio of more than 1,000 MW in different geographical areas using photovoltaic and thermo-electric technology. Its leadership is not just limited to Spain but rather, thanks to its recent transactions, Fotowatio has also become one of the companies of reference in Italy and the U.S.A. Since 2006, Fotowatio has invested over 700 million euros in the promotion and management of solar power projects and it plans to invest 2,500 million euros more by 2012 in Spain, Italy and the USA. The firm also carries out projects in solar thermal electricity generating plants in which it plans to invest 600 million euros over the next three years. Among investors in Fotowatio are established companies such as Qualitas Venture Capital, the Landon Group and General Electric Energy Financial Services. The Spanish firm provides direct employment to 100 people specialised in different aspects of the development and operation of solar power plants and creates hundreds of indirect jobs in both the manufacture of components and the construction and operation of its plants.