Enel X, a subsidiary of Italian energy major Enel, has secured a tender to build a 22MW solar photovoltaic plant at Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy.

The company received the contract in a European public tender held by Italian airport operator Aeroporti di Roma (ADR).

To be located parallel to the airport’s third runway, the solar plant will include 55,000 solar panels, housing structures, cabins and cable ducts, and will cover an area of 340,000m².

Work on the plant is expected to begin by the end of 2023, and it is scheduled for completion in 2024.

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The plant will be integrated into a ten megawatt-hour storage system using recycled batteries sourced from electric vehicles.

The storage system is the result of an alliance between the airport authority and Enel X. It will help meet evening peaks in energy demand at the airport.

The plant will have a generating capacity of 32 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy annually.

It will also help to remove 11,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions, equivalent to planting 100,000 trees.

ADR has focused on digitalisation, safety, innovation and environmental sustainability and aims to attain net zero status by 2030, ahead of the European airport industry’s goal.

Enel X CEO Francesco Venturini stated: “The construction of this new photovoltaic system, which will be the largest in Europe, is a significant step in the now well-established collaboration with Aeroporti di Roma.

“This operation has never been attempted before in an airport setting, and our leadership in developing cutting-edge technologies in the energy sector will enable us to significantly contribute to reducing Fiumicino airport’s emissions, thereby further strengthening its position as an excellent world-class airport.”