RDP project database
Solar Care for Social Farming
A social cooperative farm, that uses confiscated land from the Sicilian mafia, wanted to supply its new winery with electricity from renewable sources.
The 'Cooperativa Placido Rizzotto', in the province of Palermo, was set up in November 2001 on what was previously the estate of a major mafia boss. After a difficult start for its 15 young and previously unemployed members, the cooperative progressively grew, focusing on organic Sicilian products, and in particular wines. A new, modern winery was built in 2011, requiring additional energy provision.
The objective was to use an organic farming approach, aiming at an overall, sustainable management of the farm activity. The purchase of solar photovoltaic panels ensured the additional electricity required for the winery activities and at the same time reducing its operating cost.
The measure was implemented by setting-up a small solar plant of around 157sqm able to produce 19,3 kW of electric power, in one of the main farm settlements, located in the San Cipirello municipality (Palermo province). The whole operation required some 14 months, including the final audit.
Results & Benefits
The solar panels enabled to provide almost 100% of the electricity needs for the new 'Centopassi' winery, and represent one of the first solar photovoltaic plants in the area. This allowed the farm to save on energy costs, replacing electricity deriving from traditional, fossil-based fuels. It also protected the area facing the winery entrance from the rain and the heavy sunlight typical of this zone.
The ‘Cooperativa Placido Rizzotto’, which is part of the Consortium Libera Terra, found the implementation of measure 311 particularly useful and convenient in financial terms. The cooperative is considering enlarging its winery and installing other solar photovoltaic panels. The main lesson learnt from this experience is that the installation of the solar plant was the easiest part of the project. The hardest and longest part was the connection to the main electricity grid.
Project location and other information
San Cipirello municipality (Palermo province), northwestern part of Sicily.
Total project cost (€)
EAFRD contribution (€)
National contribution (€)
Private contribution (€)
Languages for contact
At a glance
Final beneficiary type
€100 000 - €500 000
Theme / Measure:
Rural Quality of Life & Economic Diversification
Rural economic diversification
311. Diversification into non-agricultural activities
Solar energy, Employment, Energy, Farm buildings, Young people