It‚Äôs not often that international finance students need a hard hat and closed toe shoes while in class, unless of course they are on Semester at Sea with Professor Mark White.
Professor White and his students head out to Montalto di Castro, Italy‚Äôs largest solar power plant (the second largest in the EU) for a private tour.¬† Touring this plant is an exclusive event, enhanced by the guides who are the chief on-site plant manager and the head of finance who flew in from Geneva.
Students learn about how sun power is produced and sold into the grid. In Italy there is only one utility company that is regulated by law to purchase 100% of the power generated at Montalto di Castro. This means that all 33 mega watts of power go directly into the Italian power grid. While this may sound like a lot of energy, it only represents .002% of the country‚Äôs total usage.
Students also sit down for a lesson on the value chain of the solar energy market as well as the internationally intertwined story of the plant itself.¬†Montalto di Castro is a perfect place to learn about international business finance, as it has been passed around by companies all over the world. Originally it was built by an American company, then sold to investors from Malta, ownership was then transferred to a holding company run out of Luxemburg, The Lundin Group, who owns Etrion, a company operating out of Geneva; Etrion owns and operates this independent power producer.
This day has been one where students get their brow a bit sweaty, shoes a bit dirty, and minds a bit expanded. One student said, ‚ÄúI have never seen anything like this before, and I never would have if it weren‚Äôt for this class.‚Äù