Enel North America, through its affiliate 3Sun USA, today announced that it will build one of the largest solar PV factories in the US. Initially, it’s expected to produce at least 3 gigawatts (GW) and scale up to 6 GW of high-performance bifacial PV modules and cells annually. This facility will be among the first in the US to produce solar cells, a vital part of the supply chain.
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The company’s CEO, Enrico Viale, cited the recent Biden administration legislation passed in August for the reason for its decision:
Recent policy tailwinds from the Inflation Reduction Act have served as a catalyst for our solar manufacturing ambitions in the US, ushering in a new era of made-in-America energy.
Construction of Enel’s factory is expected to begin in the first half of 2023.
Electrek asked Enel where the factory would be located, and Giovanni Bertolino, head of 3Sun USA, Enel, replied:
Enel is currently evaluating prospective sites for the facility, taking into consideration factors like land availability, the presence of a skilled workforce, connections to transportation networks, and tax and incentive structures. We plan to make a final site selection by the end of 2022 and anticipate the facility would start production at partial capacity by the end of 2024, with full capacity in 2025.
Up to 1,500 new jobs will be created as a result of this manufacturing push. It will also boost the US solar PV supply chain by adding to its domestic solar cell and panel manufacturing capacity.
Enel will leverage its expertise and experience from its 3Sun gigafactory in Catania, Italy, which Enel says is expected to become Europe’s largest factory that produces high-performance bifacial PV modules. Enel intends to replicate the gigafactory in the US to produce bifacial heterojunction PV cells that capture more sunlight, as the cells respond to light on both the front and rear surfaces.
Fewer than five large-scale solar module manufacturing facilities (over 1 GW) are currently operating in the US, while annual US solar PV installations are projected to grow from 16 GW in 2022 to 41 GW by the end of 2025, according to the SEIA and Wood Mackenzie.
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Photo: Enel North America
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