Enel to build 3GW solar cell and module manufacturing factory in US

Enel’s 3Sun PV manufacturing facility in Italy is currently being scaled up. Image: Enel Green Power

Enel North America intends to build a solar cell and module manufacturing facility in the US with an initial capacity of at least 3GW.

The factory is intended to produce bifacial heterojunction (HJT) PV cells, while the modules will have a tandem structure, utilising two stacked cells to capture more light than a single-cell structure, according to Enel. It said that the modules produced will be able to exceed 30% efficiency.

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Set to be built under Enel North America’s subsidiary 3Sun USA, the factory will have a minimum manufacturing capacity of 3GW, and the company cites the potential to scale up to 6GW of production capacity annually. Enel is currently assessing potential locations for the factory, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2023, with the first modules available to the market by the end of 2024.

“Recent policy tailwinds from the Inflation Reduction Act have served as a catalyst for our solar manufacturing ambitions in the US, ushering in a new era of made-in-America energy,” said Enrico Viale, head of Enel North America.

“With this announcement, it is our intention to bolster a robust domestic solar supply chain that accelerates and strengthens the US’s transition to clean energy. In doing so, we are creating thousands of new jobs, supporting local economies and providing stability to the solar industry.”

By manufacturing both cells and modules, the factory aims to mitigate supply chain issues that have dogged the US solar market in recent months. Just this week, over 240 solar and storage companies called on the secretary of commerce to reject a petition for new anti-circumvention tariffs, warning that deployment could be stifled.

This will be Enel’s second PV manufacturing factory. Last year, subsidiary 3Sun announced it was scaling up its Italian plant from 200MW to deliver 3GW of manufacturing capacity by H2 2023.

The US solar market has seen a recent increase in manufacturing capacity announcements. This week, First Solar confirmed the Alabama location of its fourth US manufacturing facility, a 3.5GWdc factory. The Inflation Reduction Act has seen predictions soar for US domestic manufacturing and deployment in the coming years.  

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