Enel North America affiliate 3Sun USA is scouring the U.S. for locations to build a 3 GW bifacial solar module and cell manufacturing facility with plans to scale up production at the facility to 6 GW per year.
Construction at the yet undisclosed location is to begin in the first half of 2023, with production anticipated by late 2024. The facility is expected to create up to 1,500 new full-time jobs and supports the domestic solar PV supply chain.
“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.
The proposed facility will be Enel’s second global PV manufacturing facility. The company previously announced the expansion of its 3Sun gigafactory in Catania, Sicily, increasing production capacity from 200 MW to 3 GW.
For the U.S. facility Enel intends to produce the same type of modules as its Sicily plant is producing, the bifacial heterojunction (B-HJT) PV cells, which capture more sunlight as the cells can respond to light on both front and rear surfaces.
3Sun’s B-HJT PV cells have already produced at high-efficiency levels. In February 2020 Enel announced that the cells carried a 24.63% efficiency, setting a record established by the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin, Germany.
Currently fewer than five large-scale solar gigafactories (over 1 GW) are operating in the U.S., while annual PV installations are projected to grow from 16 GW to 41 GW in 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie.
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