NextPower 1 connects 2 solar power plants to the Italian grid

London, December 28th, 2009 Zouk ventures (“zouk”), manager of the €52m solar project investment vehicle zouk Solar Opportunities (“zSOL”), and NextEnergy Capital (“NEC”), the European merchant bank specialised on the renewable sector, today announce through their joint company NextPower 1 (“NP1”) the successful construction of two power plants of 1MWp each, in Puglia – Southern Italy – and their connection to the national electricity grid on December 23rd, 2009, date from which they will start to receive the premium feed-in-tariff for the electricity produced.

The first power plant, situated in the municipality of Gravina in Puglia (Bari province), utilises a dual-axis tracker technology developed by Enerqos. The second site is located in San Pietro Vernotico (Brindisi province) and it has been built using a traditional ground mounted, fixed axis system. Both sites benefit from close proximity to the local power grid connection point. The overall investment amounts to €14.5m. The two power plants will contribute to the local communities in term of material benefits: they will jointly produce nearly 100 million kWh, sufficient to serve approximately 1,200 families each year, and will save approx. 53,000 tons of CO2 during their operational life, equal the pollution generated by 10,000 cars circumventing the earth. The taxes contributed to the local communities are expected to be in the range of €1.6m. “This testifies the value of our initiatives in terms of local development, in a market dominated by potential high figures yet very few concrete initiatives. This achievement further confirms that we are among the most active players in the solar market in Italy”, the Company in a statement. In 2009, Puglia authorities received over 4GW peak of applications, while the constructed projects were very few, posing severe concerns about the quality of the project developments undertaken.

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