The European Commission and Enel Green Power have signed a funding agreement to assist increase capacity at the former’s 3Sun PV panel production in Sicily, Italy, from 200MW to 3GW.
The deal, which was reached as part of the EU’s first large-scale project call for the Innovation Fund, will aid Tango’s development (giga factory).
After starting with the first 400MW in September 2023, the 3GW-per-year project is expected to be fully operational by July 2024.
According to Enel Green Power, the entire investment in the facility will be over €600 million, with nearly €118 million in EU subsidies.
According to Enel, the investment is expected to create around 1000 direct and indirect jobs in the local area by 2024, as well as act as a catalyst for the relaunch of a European PV value chain.
“The global world demand of solar PV modules is growing at an accelerated pace.” said Francesco Starace Enel’s Group chief executive.
“Europe alone is expected to absorb a large portion of additional demand thanks to the great competitiveness and convenience of this technology.
“The sourcing footprint of these important components is a weak point in the global supply chain and we see the need to rebalance its geographic spread that is today excessively dependent on a single Asian source.
“This investment will place 3000MW per year of production capacity back in Europe and will mark for Italy a big step in retaining leadership in technology.”
Salvatore Bernabei, Enel Green Power chief executive, said “The Tango project will contribute towards the achievement of EU’s increased ambitions of 40% energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030, alongside helping reduce energy dependency.”
“The gigafactory will promote a circular economy concept, creating a more sustainable and resilient European supply chain, from the design phase to the new models of reusing components at the end of their life cycle.
“Looking ahead, the Tango project has high potential for scalability and can become a model for other gigawatt-scale PV factories to be developed in Europe over the coming years.”
According to Enel, 3Sun’s production will contain bifacial heterojunction PV cells, which can respond to light from both the front and back surfaces, allowing the cells to catch more sunlight.
The PV panels will be further improved to include a construction called ‘Tandem,’ which uses two stacked cells to catch more light than single-cell structures, resulting in higher overall efficiency, according to the company.
Enel stated “The combination of bifacial PV panels and Tandem cell structure offers significant efficiency improvements, which will enable PV modules to exceed 30% efficiency, securing higher average energy production.”