Solitek to build 600 MW solar module factory in Italy


Solitek, a unit of ophthalmic lens maker Global BOD, has unveiled plans to build a solar module factory in southern Italy.

“The factory will be located in Benevento, in the region of Campania, and will have an annual capacity of 600 MW,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine, noting that the initial investment will reach €50 million ($53.4 million).

The Lithuanian solar module manufacturer said the facility will produce solar panels for applications in agrivoltaics.

“Italy's favorable climate for agriculture provides a suitable environment for agro-installations, a significant advantage compared to Northern Europe, where the window for agro-installation usage is relatively short,” said Solitek. “Operating a manufacturing plant in Southern Europe will also help Solitek avoid fluctuations in production capacity during winter when solar panels in Northern Europe cannot be used.”

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The factory is expected to begin manufacturing in the second quarter of 2024. At an unspecified later stage, it will also make 1 GWh of residential battery capacity per year. “Throughout the gradual development of the new manufacturing facility and after its creation, Solitek plans to generate up to 300 jobs, revitalize a low-employment area, and attract further international and local investments.”

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The current issue of pv magazine focuses on the solar manufacturing technology enabling the new era of market expansion and high efficiency modules, including interdigitated back contact (IBC) and perovskite tandem solar cells. The magazine charts the latest technical and investment decisions in the high efficiency solar manufacturing segment and the materials and R&D underpinning them. Reports come in from France, Japan, India, Indonesia, Israel, England, the US, and China and we also examine the troubles of the solar-powered car pioneers.

The company currently operates a 180 MW module factory in Lithuania. It recently unveiled a 40-cell solar panel for agrivoltaic applications with power conversion efficiencies of 12.6%. The module can operate with a maximum system voltage of 1,500 V. Solitek said it used the panels in a 1.5 MW agrivoltaic rooftop project in Malaysia.

The Italian government is currently supporting agrivoltaics via a €1.1 billion program, as part of its €220 billion, post-pandemic recovery plan.

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