Enel to take full control of 3Sun factory

Enel Green Power will buy out Sharp and STMicroelectronics’ shares in Italian thin-film panel manufacturing joint venture 3Sun.

Sharp and STMicroelectronics have until now been equal partners in the joint venture, with each holding a third of the share capital.

Enel, Sharp and STMicroelectronics launched the 3Sun factory to build multi-junction, thin-film silicon PV modules in 2011. The fab manufactures some 200 MW of modules annually at the plant, located in Catania, Sicily.

Enel describes the 3Sun panels as "especially well-suited for high-temperature applications." The company adds that it uses the panels on PV plants installed in emerging countries in the regions outlined in the group’s 2014-2018 business plan, including South America and South Africa. In South Africa, Enel won the right last year to enter into contracts to supply more than 300 MW of installed capacity.

Under the agreement with STMicroelectronics, which follows a similar deal reached last week with Sharp, the French-Italian multinational electronics and semiconductor manufacturer will pay Enel €15 million and relinquish all obligations to the group as well as to 3Sun.

Enel’s 100% acquisition of 3Sun remains subject to approval by the group’s lender banks and relevant authorities if required.

Last week Sharp agreed to pay Enel €95 million to take over its purchase obligations from the 3Sun joint venture. Enel and Sharp had committed to purchase the entire output of the factory. Sharp likewise transfered to Enel its entire share in the Enel Green Power & Shapr Solar Energy Srl (ESSE) joint venture, which develops, builds and owns PV plants in Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions that utilize 3Sun modules.