Energetica begins manufacturing at gigafactory in Austria

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From pv magazine Germany.

With the German solar manufacturing industry on its knees last year, the summer announcement by Austrian company Energetica that it was planning a gigawatt-scale production facility in Liebenfels came as a bolt from the blue.

At the time, the company said annual production capacity of 1 GW would be achieved by the third quarter of this year. Despite some slippage, that milestone has now almost been achieved. On September 17, the first high-performance modules ran on to conveyor belts on the fully automated production lines, the company revealed on Friday. Over the summer, machines were built on the 63,000m² industrial site in Carinthia, Austria.

Around 100 employees are working on the production of various modules at the site.

Ambition

“Our goal is to produce powerful, intelligent and visually appealing high-end photovoltaic modules in Austria,” said Rene Battistutti, founder and CEO of Energetica Photovoltaic Industries. “Energy [that is] self-sufficient, environmentally friendly, sustainable and at retail prices that will enable us to compete with Asian manufacturers in global competition.”

When operating at full capacity, the facility is expected to become a ‘zero emission factory’, as it will be supplied with electricity from a 2.7 MW rooftop solar system. Battery storage will also be installed and waste heat from a nearby biomass heating plant will also be used.

Energetica plans to further develop its solar cells and other PV products at an R&D facility on the site. “With our R&D center, we can help external partners – such as those from other industries and who want to integrate solar technology into their products – with our knowhow,” said Battistutti. “Our goal is to support ideas from initial prototypes to series production.”

The company’s innovations include its petalled Smartflower products, for which Energetica plans to manufacture the PV components in Liebenfels.