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Electronics Production | August 03, 2010

Green light for Italy's biggest photovoltaic plant

Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics have signed a binding commitment letter for a project financing agreement for 150 million euros.
The equal share joint venture, named 3Sun, now in place, will start operations at the factory in Catania (Sicily) and produce photovoltaic panels for an initial capacity of 160 MW per year.

Go-ahead also given for the ESSE joint venture between Enel Green Power and Sharp for the development of solar farms set to generate over 500 MW.

The 3Sun equal share joint venture thus enters its operational phase, in line with the agreement signed by the three partners on January 4th, 2010, with its statutory bodies having been appointed today. The goal of the joint venture is to start operations at the Catania factory for the integrated production of innovative photovoltaic cells and panels.

The Sicilian factory’s initial photovoltaic panel production capacity, equivalent to 160 MW per year, is to be financed through a combination of self-financing, funding from the CIPE (the Italian Joint Ministerial Committee for Economic planning) - which recently set aside 49 million euros for this project - and project financing provided by banks. Each partner has underwritten one third of the equity - with a commitment of 70 million euros in cash or in tangible and intangible assets, as previously announced – and holds one third of the shares in the new joint venture.

The factory, whose yearly output is expected to reach 480 MW over the coming years, will be Italy’s largest photovoltaic panel manufacturer from the first day of operation. Panel production at the Catania plant is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2011.

Factory output will also serve the most promising solar markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean area, the region in which Enel Green Power and Sharp already have extensive sales networks.

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