Enel kicks-off production at Italy’s heterojunction module factory

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Italian utility Enel has resumed manufacturing activity at its 3Sun solar module factory in Catania, Sicily.

The company said the facility, with an annual production capacity of 200 MW, will manufacture heterojunction (HJT) bifacial solar panels with a power output of 400 W and efficiency of more than 20.5%. “The goal is to be able to overcome the theoretical limit of silicon efficiency in the next five years thanks to constant technological innovation and to achieve more than 28% efficiency,” the company said in a statement.

The energy company has invested around €80 million reviving the factory, which was built in 2011 with Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp and French-Italian semiconductor business STMicroelectronics. Enel took full control of the facility in July 2014. At the time, the factory was intended to produce multi-junction, thin-film silicon PV modules.

“We are the first company in the world to produce photovoltaic panels based on the innovative bifacial HJT heterojunction technology on an industrial scale,” said the head of 3Sun, Antonello Irace.

The resumption of production was part financed by European research and innovation program Horizon 2020 with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, the Sicilian regional government and incentives for Smart Factory 4.0 development.

Enel revealed plans to convert the factory to bifacial HJT production in March 2017. At the time, it said production activities would start early last year and target annual capacity of 240 MW this year.