Compared with the year 2000, the production of PV cells has actually increased a hundredfold, and the Enel Group participated in this growth with a central role, opening in 2011 Italy’s largest photovoltaic panel factory, in Catania.
Furthermore, analysts in this segment foresee that about 21,000 MW of photovoltaic solar energy will be installed at a global level in 2011. Even if this forecast means that a significant growth slowdown is expected, compared with the twofold growth between 2009 and 2010, it must be noted that the number of countries with an increasing photovoltaic energy demand keeps on expanding. New markets like Slovakia and the United Kingdom are among the 20 countries that should add at least 100 MW in 2011, compared with 13 in 2010.
The Enel Group has been central to the growth that took place in 2011: in the USA, Enel Green Power has developed the first solar-geothermal energy plant in the world (89 MW), with the installation of more than 81,000 PV modules. In Italy, Enel launched at Serre Persano the largest PV plant in Europe, while in Greece EGP opened its first PV plant, in the region of Ilia in the Peloponnese (Western Greece).
Lower photovoltaic costs due to productive technological improvement, and the growing focus on climate change combat will be among the essential factors that will help keep up the advance of the PV industry.
To this end, Enel has already taken tangible action to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of photovoltaic energy. It’s been several years now that the Group is engaged in analysing the benefits of the various available solutions, like semiconducting materials alternative to silicon, which allows much greater yields, and concentration systems with heat recovery.