Looking to set up a production line at 3SUN’s Catania factory that can manufacture high-efficiency bi-facial heterojunction silicon photovoltaic modules, the Automated photovoltaic cell and Module industrial Production (AMPERE) project was launched in the presence of representatives of Europe’s major research centers and leading photovoltaic companies.
Namely, the list of the project’s partners comprises: the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), the local research institute for microelectronics and microsystems CNR-IMM, and Italian-based Rise Technology, a start-up company in interconnection and packaging for the microelectronics industry. Further international partners are Germany’s Fraunhofer ISE, French Solar Energy Research Center (CEA-INES) and Meyer Burger Research AG among others.
The project’s funding, which comes from the Horizon 2020 European research and innovation program, LCE-09-2016-2017, aimed at increasing the competitiveness of European PV industries, will be used to develop a fully automated pilot line for production of new bi-facial, heterojunction modules, which use amorphous and crystalline silicon, ensure high efficiency and production levels, as well as low panel deterioration levels.
The new model will be taken to the factory floor in the first half of 2018, before stepping up production to 240 MWp in 2019, with 1 GW commercial cell production in sight as the project’s final goal expected to be reached over the next five years.
Further funding of the project in the amount of €14.1 million is being evaluated by Invitalia, the national agency for drawing investment promotion and enterprise development, after being allocated by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Region of Sicily.
Both funding lines are to be directed at equipment purchase and technological conversion of the 3SUN facility.
Moreover, Enel Green Power announced in March that it was planning to invest €80 million ($84.4 million) in converting its PV module manufacturing at the Catania-based facility to production based on high-efficiency technology.