An innovative photovoltaic panels factory run by 3Sun, the equal share joint venture between Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics, was inaugurated today in Catania. In attendance were the President of the Sicily Region, Raffaele Lombardo, the President of the Catania Province, Giuseppe Castiglione, and the Mayor of Catania, Raffaele Stancanelli.
In addition to Government representatives, the plant’s opening ceremony was attended by Enel Chairman Paolo Andrea Colombo and Enel CEO Fulvio Conti, Sharp Corporation President Katsuhiko Machida, STMicroelectronics supervisory board Vice Chairman Bruno Steve and STMicroelectronics President and CEO Carlo Bozotti, Enel Green Power CEO Francesco Starace, Sharp Representative Director and Executive Vice-President, Toshishige Hamano, 3Sun President Andrea Cuomo and 3Sun CEO Mauro Curiale. The plant will manufacture integrated multi-junction, thin-film photovoltaic cells and modules.
With an initial employment of 280 qualified resources and solar panel production capacity of 160 MW per year, which could be increased to an annual 480 MW over the next years, the plant is already the largest solar panel factory in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. It was financed through a mix of capital from the partners, funding from CIPE – which earmarked 49 million euros for the project – and project financing with three major lending institutions: Banca IMI, Centrobanca and Unicredit.
Following the agreement signed in August 2010, each of the three partners subscribed to a third of the capital – committing 70 million euros each in cash or in tangible and intangible assets. The partners have also contributed their specific expertise: Enel Green Power, with the development and operation of plants generating power from renewable resources at the international level and the retail marketing of photovoltaic panels on a national scale through its subsidiary Enel.si; Sharp, with its unique multi-junction thin-film technology already being manufactured at its factory in Sakai, Japan and the marketing of photovoltaic panels through Sharp’s subsidiaries in Europe; STMicroelectronics, with its manufacturing capabilities, a staff highly trained in advanced technology sectors such as microelectronics as well as its competence in innovative energy-saving power-management systems.
The factory output is intended to meet the demand of solar power markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), using both projects under development and the sales networks of Enel Green Power and Sharp. In this regard, Enel Green Power and Sharp have formed a second joint venture, ESSE (Enel Green Power & Sharp Solar Energy), to develop, build and operate photovoltaic systems in the EMEA area with an output target of over 500MW by 2016, using panels manufactured by the factory, which will also be employed on the 1 MW photovoltaic plant that ESSE will build on the rooftop of the new factory.
Enel.si, the Enel Green Power subsidiary specialized in the installation of photovoltaic systems for the retail market, will also participate in the marketing effort, offering panels through its franchise network of over 570 qualified installers throughout Italy.
Enel Green Power is the Enel Group company devoted to the development and management of power generation from renewable sources at the international level, with a presence in Europe and the Americas. It is among the industry leaders worldwide thanks to its approximately 22 billion KWh generated from a well balanced energy mix inclusive of water, sun, wind and geothermal sources. This is enough to meet the energy needs of about 8 million households and avoid the emission of more than 16 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The company’s installed capacity exceeds 6,100 MW, produced by more than 620 plants in operation around the world, with a generation mix that includes wind energy, solar power, hydro, geothermal energy and biomass.
Since its founding in 1912, Sharp has developed numerous world-first and Japan-first products, including the first Japan-made radios, TVs, and the world’s first all-transistor/diode desktop calculator. Sharp has contributed to society by commercializing these unique products.
Today, in addition to its core LCD TV business, Sharp is also focusing on its solar cell business. It has been more than 50 years since Sharp first started researching solar cells. Over this long period of time, solar cells made by Sharp have been used not only in residential and industrial applications, but also on lighthouses and satellites, thus proving their long-term reliability. In March 2010, Sharp Corporation started operations at its new thin-film solar cell plant in GREEN FRONT SAKAI, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with innovative semiconductor solutions. ST aims to be the undisputed leader in multimedia convergence and power applications leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships and manufacturing strength. In 2010, the Company’s net revenues were $10.35 billion.