- EU approves €89.5 million funding to support Enel Group’s 3 GW HJT factory in Sicily
- Announcing the funds to be dispersed from Italy’s RRF, the commission said the support is necessary and appropriate
- With this fresh funding coming in, 3Sun has now secured €207.5 million for the fab from the EU
The European Commission (EC) has approved additional funds of €89.5 million for Enel Group’s 3 GW heterojunction (HJT) solar module fab in Catania. The subsidies will be sourced from the €191.5 billion Italy Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
Funding support from the EC under state aid rules for the largest solar panel manufacturing site in Europe is aimed at supporting efforts to reduce the bloc’s dependency on imported panels. The European Commission also factored in advantages for local economic development to grant the funding.
The Sicily located Enel fab currently has an operational capacity of 200 MW. By July 2024, Enel’s solar PV manufacturing arm 3Sun plans to expand its annual capacity to over 3 GW. Under phase I, the capacity will be increased to 400 MW by September 2023.
Enel is also working on tandem structure for panels with more than 30% efficiency in its TANGO project. In March 2023, the company announced 26.5% conversion efficiency for tandem cell structure using perovskite and silicon cell technologies with its research partners INES-CEA (see 26.5% Efficiency For Tandem Perovskite-Silicon Cell).
Finding it ‘necessary and appropriate’ to support the expansion of the plant, the EC said the aid is ‘proportionate and limited the minimum necessary to trigger the investment and will not exceed the maximum amounts of set out in Italian regional aid map’.
“This €89.5 million measure enables Italy to support the expansion of 3Sun’s solar panel plant in Catania, contributing to the regional development and competitiveness of this area,” said Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager. “Funded by the Recovery and Resilience Facility, this aid measure will contribute to the European transition while limiting possible distortions of competition.”
The 3Sun fab has already secured €118 million EU funding through the Innovation Fund to support its €600 million expansion expenses (see 3 GW Bifacial HJT Modules Fab In Europe). The €89.5 million RRF facility now takes total EU funding for the project to a total of €207.5 million. In February 2023, Enel Green Power (EGP) also raised €560 million loan from UniCredit (see UniCredit Shells Out €560 Million For Enel’s HJT Fab).
HJT is the key solar cell technology focussed on for Europe’s manufacturing renaissance. In mid- July, Switzerland headquartered heterojunction (HJT) solar PV technology company Meyer Burger Technology AG has announced plans to add 3.5 GW solar cell and module production capacity after winning €200 million under the 3rd European Union (EU) Innovation Fund round for large scale projects (see EU Innovation Fund Swiss Winner’s Growth Plans).