More than 300 people attended the SMA Italia Conference, held in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group.


Large numbers gathered at the Politecnico di Milano’s Carassa-Dadda Auditorium on Tuesday, 11 July, to attend a presentation about the Montalto di Castro project, which is the largest Italian photovoltaic system to reach grid parity so far and one of Europe’s biggest.

The Montalto di Castro project, consisting of five photovoltaic plants, is a turning point for the photovoltaic scenario in Italy and Europe. Its high efficiency was achieved thanks to a careful design carried out in collaboration with SMA Italia’s engineering division. Another factor was the use of SMA Sunny Central CP-XT inverters which allowed a 10 percent reduction in the required installation space and a 20 percent reduction in installation time. The absence of communication cables and the 50 percent reduction in maintenance times made SMA’s Medium Voltage Power Station the perfect grid parity solution. The container solution combines the Sunny Central inverter with perfectly matched medium voltage technology.

SMA South Europe Regional Manager Valerio Natalizia said: “We have been talking about grid parity for several years. This scenario is no longer just theoretical, but it has finally become a reality. We are pleased with the result. The implementation of these plants has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the project’s technical and financial partners, who provided their skills and the most advanced technologies, for its design and implementation.”

The solar power plants in Montalto di Castro, Italy

The Montalto di Castro project consists of five solar power plants with a combined output of 63 MWp.

The Montalto di Castro plant has an annual performance rate of 84% with a target of 1,798 kWh / kWp and a MW peak cost of less than a million euros.

The project involved the construction of four 13.3 MWp plants and one of 10 MWp each with the names of the greatest Italian composers. It required 58 Sunny Central CP-XT inverters in 30 20″ cabins; laying 500 km string cables and inserting 40,000 poles into the ground to support 200,000 photovoltaic modules of 315-320 Wp. These were installed on 40 independent uniaxial trackers which cover more than 150 ha. These are just some of the numbers presented by SMA Italia and Comal Impianti during the conference.

During the event the Politecnico di Milano’s Energy & Strategy Group described the prospects for photovoltaic development and economic sustainability in Italy, while Welink Energy Group explained the international investment opportunities. Green Trade was focused on the development in Italian energy prices and investigating new market scenarios. The dispatching market is evolving and offers the photovoltaic industry new opportunities as underlined by the Electricity, Gas and Water System Authority.


The production of electricity from photovoltaic sources in grid parity is now highly viable in Italy and SMA is at the forefront.

The conference documents are available for download on the SMA Italia website.


This press release is for purely informational purposes and does not constitute any form of offer or invitation to buy, hold or sell securities of SMA Solar Technology AG (the “Company”) or its present or future affiliated companies (along with the Company, collectively known as the “SMA Group”). This cannot be considered as the basis for any agreement for the Company or any SMA Group Company’s securities purchase or sale.

This press release may contain certain forward-thinking projections and include statements about our expectations. This information is based on programmes, estimates and forecasts currently available to SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA or the Company) head office and are only valid for the day it is formulated and may contain risks and uncertainty factors. Various, known, and unknown risk factors, uncertainties, and other factors may cause the Company’s results, financial position, performance, and returns to be different from estimates reported here. These factors include those described in the SMA reports which are available on the website

The Company has no obligation to update and revise this information based on future results or developments.

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At a time of rolling black-outs on the South African electricity grid, AdSolar was tasked with designing a power solution for 11 new homes in a luxury estate development in the Upper Highway area of Durban’s western suburbs. The goal was to provide power generation, delivery and security without compromising the homeowners’ lifestyle. Given the complexity of the project, AdSolar selected a solution from Schneider Electrics broad range of solar technologies to meet their client’s needs.

The costs of grid power in South Africa is ever increasing to allow utilities to maintain and expand their distribution networks and generation capacity. This increase in power costs in South Africa combined with deteriorating grid stability is pushing more consumers to want to take control and go off-grid.

AdSolar and Schneider Electric decided the best solution for this project would be to implement a centralized storage solutions using a nine unit Conext XW+ multi-cluster with 10 sources of decentralized power (AC coupled grid tied inverters).

Read our full case study to learn more about this project, and why the Conext XW+ hybrid inverter was chosen for this project.


  • Company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 1,018 tonnes per year
  • Plant to produce over 1.05 million units of electricity per year; help cut power costs by 20-25% annually


Gujarat, India, 28 July, 2017: Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced the commissioning of a 720 kWp capacity solar power project at its manufacturing facility in Vadodara, Gujarat. The solar project, built on a rooftop area of 6,000 square meters, covers almost 45% of the total factory load and will produce over 1.05 million units of electricity per year which would help cut power costs by as much as 20-25% annually. Further, Schneider Electric will be able to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,018 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to planting 50,000 trees.

The project demonstrates Schneider Electric’s commitment towards green manufacturing in India. This is the second solar project commissioned by Schneider Electric at its manufacturing facility in India. In 2015, the company had installed a 120 kWp solar power plant at its Bangalore unit.

Speaking about Schneider Electric’s commitment to green manufacturing, Mr.  Anurag Garg, Vice President Solar & Energy Storage, Solar Business, Schneider Electric India, said, “India has set a target to increase the share of manufacturing to its GDP to 25% by 2025 from the current level of 16%. While this is a welcomed move, there is also a need to mitigate the environmental concerns that the country faces. It is imperative that the manufacturing sector uses energy and resources efficiently and minimizes its carbon footprint. This solar power project is our endeavour to provide a cleaner and greener environment to the community in Vadodara.”

Schneider Electric’s modernized solar harvesting technology will help the company to maximize the energy output from the available rooftop space at the Vadodara plant and ensure minimum load on the roof by using light-weight material for construction.

Speaking about the successful implementation, Mr. Vivek Sarwate, Vice-President, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric India  said, “With renewable energy taking centre stage in all discussions pertaining to reduction of carbon footprint, Schneider Electric is totally committed towards supporting the government mission with its expertise in the solar segment. The successful commissioning of this project is a testament to our efforts in making our own buildings efficient and is a step towards creating a New World of Energy that is more sustainable.”

The Design, Engineering, Procurement and Construction for the plant was done by Fourth Partner Energy, a leading rooftop solar solutions provider with over 500+ installations on Commercial & Industrial rooftops across 21 states in India.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

Climate change is one of those very difficult things to see first-hand, in that we need some form of historical reference and a clear link to warming. Further, the reference point needs to be visual and significant to have an impact. Sea level is one such reference, although in the clear majority of cases it moves so slowly that any reference to the past is almost impossible to discern. I lived in seaside areas on and off for several years in the 1970s and 1980s, but returning 30-40 years later offers little to no visual hint of change, even though change is underway.

I recently visited Chamonix in France where a very significant change is both underway and clearly visible. You can take the rack and pinion railway nearly a kilometre vertically from the town up to Montenvers, where the Mer de Glace glacier can be viewed and visited. This is the longest and largest glacier in France, and the second longest in the Alps. The scene from Montenvers, like much of the Alps, is beautiful, although the glacier itself is not easy to visualize in that its surface is largely covered with a dusting of debris from sides of the valley. Nevertheless, it is an imposing scene and more than worth the visit.

Glacier view

But this is just the beginning of the story. The glacier is shrinking rapidly, the first indication of which comes from the viewing sign that includes a dotted line showing the height of the glacier in 1820. The drop in height is very significant, but if that isn’t sufficient visualization of change, then a walk down a rocky path from Montenvers and then finally some 400+ steps to the glacier surface not only brings home the scale of change but also the rate – which appears to be accelerating.

Glacier sign

The first impression comes when the hiker arrives at the 1820 line, well above the current glacier. This is quite a sobering moment in that there is no sign of ice, just summer wildflowers and trees.

Chamonix 1820

This is just the first of many year signs, but the impression of acceleration comes lower down. Once the stairs are reached the first of several closely spaced signs appears, this one for 1990.

Chamonix 1990

Soon after that comes 2003 (bottom right corner of the picture) and then finally the surface of the glacier itself, which brings the hiker to 2017. The drop from 1990-2003 was sizable for 13 years, but seemed small compared to the 2003-2017 change (14 years). The first drops from 1820 to 1920 and then 1985 seemed smaller by comparison.

Chamonix 20032003 sign

The changes to the Mer de Glace have been widely recorded and written about, including an excellent report on the rate of decline based on Landsat satellite images. In its 5th Assessment report the IPCC noted the general demise of mountain glaciers as follows;

Despite their variability due to different response times and local conditions, the annually measured glacier terminus fluctuations from about 500 glaciers worldwide reveal a largely homogeneous trend of retreat. In Figure 4.9 (see below for the Central Europe extract), a selection of the available long-term records of field measurements is shown for 14 out of the 19 RGI regions. Cumulative values of retreat for large, land-terminating valley glaciers typically reach a few kilometres over the 120-year period of observation. For mid-latitude mountain and valley glaciers, typical retreat rates are of the order of 5 to 20 m/year. Rates of up to 100 m/year (or even more) are seen to occur under special conditions, such as the complete loss of a tongue on a steep slope, or the disintegration of a very flat tongue.

IPCC Central Europe

Cumulative length change in metres vs. year

Recognizing that the reasons for change for any given glacier can be many and varied, the global trend is very clear and Mer de Glace is one example of this. If you are in the region over the summer vacation period then a visit is highly recommended, with the bonus of being able to walk inside the glacier when you finally reach the surface, thanks to some ingenious tunneling by the local tourist authorities.

Inside Mer de Glace


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