Last month Enel North America identified Oklahoma as the leading candidate for its new solar cell and module manufacturing facility, and that plan moved one step closer to fruition with a package voted on by the Oklahoma senate.
In a meeting of the joint appropriations committee, a package received initial approval that could give up to $180 million worth of taxpayer incentives. According to an article in The Oklahoman newspaper, the money would come out of leftover cash from its 2022 budget.
The facility, first announced in November 2022, will be operated through the company’s affiliate, 3Sun USA. Initial capacity of the solar cell and module factory is expected to be 3 GW, and Enel stated plans of doubling that capacity to 6 GW at the site. The facility is expected to bring millions of dollars of investment to the state and create more than 1,500 jobs, with production anticipated by late 2024. A stipulation in the bill is that at least 1,400 jobs must be created in order to receive the full amount of incentives.
The solar module factory would reportedly be built in the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, near the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation system. The port encompasses an area of 2,500 acres and is home to over 70 companies in its industrial park.
Enel Green Power North America is no newcomer to the state of Oklahoma. The company has twelve operating wind farms in the state, representing over 2 GW of operating capacity and $3 billion in investment in the state to date. Enel currently has a thirteenth wind farm, the Seven Cowboy Wind Project, under construction. Located in Washita and Kiowa counties, the wind project will have 107 wind turbines that will generate approximately 1.3 TWh of energy annually, equivalent to the electricity needs of over 120,000 U.S. households, and will avoid more than 758,000 tons of C02 emissions a year. The company also built a state-of-the-art training center in Oklahoma to train a workforce for the wind industry.
Senate Bill 1177 and two companion bills, reportedly in support of Enel’s solar factory, head next to the House and Senate floors for a final vote.
If approved, the proposed U.S. factory will be Enel’s second solar manufacturing facility, as it previously announced the expansion of its 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Sicily, increasing its production capacity from 200 MW to 3 GW. The U.S. factory will also be one of the few in the country manufacturing cells as well as modules.
Enel Green Power also manages more than 1,200 power plants on five continents with over 59 GW of installed renewable capacity from a mix of wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal.
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