3Sun inaugurates thin-film plant in Italy

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The Italy-based silicon thin-film PV module venture between Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics has been officially inaugurated, roughly a year after the project was announced. Based in Sicily, the plant has an initial capacity of 160MW per annum, with the capability to expand capacity to 480MW. Key executives from all three companies attended the official opening on July 8.

Using technology from Sharp, 3Sun is targeting utility-scale projects in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Enel Green Power and Sharp have also formed a second joint venture, ESSE (Enel Green Power & Sharp Solar Energy), to develop, build and operate photovoltaic systems in the EMEA area.

ESSE is said to be targeting projects that would create an output power target of over 500MW by 2016, employing the thin-film modules produced at the 3Sun facility in Sicily.

Module production was previously scheduled to begin in the second half of 2011. Initially, the ramp was expected to start in early 2011. In all 280 people are expected to work at the facility at its starting nameplate capacity. 

3Sun was financed through a mix of capital €70 million each from the partners, with funding from CIPE, which earmarked €49 million for the project. 

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