Enel secures EU funds to scale up Italian heterojunction PV module factory to 3 GW


Renewable energy company and solar PV module manufacturer Enel Green Power, a unit of Italian power utility Enel, has secured an undisclosed sum from the European Union to scale up its 200 MW heterojunction module factory in Catania, southern Italy, to 3 GW.

The announcement, made by the European Commission, revealed that seven projects with total capital costs above €7.5 million were selected for funding under the first Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects.

The innovative bifacial heterojunction technology ensures higher performance with respect to conventional modules, thanks to the intrinsic characteristics of the advanced bifacial structure that allows for the maximization of energy production while minimizing the cost of electricity (LCOE) in utility-scale installations,” said the Commission in a statement. “Furthermore, the project aims at enabling the application of the Tandem structure to BHJT solar cells, in order to  overcome the limit imposed by silicon bound to its bandgap.”

Brussels stressed that Enel's project is aimed at sustaining European technology leadership in next-generation PV modules and cells and that it will have a positive impact on the whole PV value chain.

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Enel has not released yet a comment on the matter.

The company started production at the 200 MW facility in October 2019. It invested around €80 million in 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.

The resumption of production was part-financed by the 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.

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