Lithuania-based solar photovoltaic manufacturer Solitek has announced it will build its first overseas production facility in Benevento, southern Italy.

The company has said it will invest €50m ($55m) in developing the plant while the European Commission will also provide subsidies for the project. The module assembly plant will have a capacity of 600MW, is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2024 and will create 300 new jobs.

Solitek has two operational production facilities, both in Lithuania. One is a solar panel factory with an annual capacity of 250MW and the other is a battery factory with an annual capacity of 200MW.

Despite being the EU’s third-largest economy, Italy has struggled to attract foreign direct investment in the same volumes as other major European countries. The election of Giorgio Meloni of the far-right Brothers of Italy party in 2022 raised concerns that Italy would become more protectionist and less welcoming to inward investment.

Solitek says that it selected Italy as the site for its expansion in southern Europe because of its favourable climate and strong agricultural industry. The new plant will seek to supply the growing agrivoltaics sector in Italy, which sees land used for both agriculture and solar power generation.

The Italian Government has launched a €1.5bn scheme to incentivise agrivoltaics and an Italian renewable energy company has started construction on what will be the country’s largest agrivoltaics project.

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