Nameplate capacity at 3SUN’s Sicily plant is currently 200MW per year. Image: Enel Green Power.

The solar module manufacturing subsidiary of Italian utility Enel is aiming to scale up annual production capacity to 3GW in the second half of 2023, the company has confirmed.

Nameplate capacity at 3SUN’s plant in Sicily is currently 200MW per year for bifacial heterojunction modules, with all output shipped to Enel Green Power North America for use in solar projects in the US.

That figure will be ramped up over the next two years, with 3SUN aiming to sell future products from the plant to both the distributed generation and utility-scale solar market, Enel Green Power told PV Tech.

Founded in 2011, the Sicily plant manufactured thin-film modules until 2017. Backed by European Union funds, Enel Green Power inaugurated the new production line for HJ technology in 2019, with the facility now capable of producing 500,000 modules annually.

Enel Green Power last year announced that it achieved a heterojunction solar cell efficiency of 24.63% through a partnership with the French National Solar Energy Institute. The company said the bifacial cell efficiency was increased by approximately 0.7% thanks to enhanced processes of layer deposition and screen metallisation based on heterojunction processes developed internally.

Having carried out successful solar research and development, the firm is now looking to increase scale at the Sicily plant, said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, at a session during this week’s SolarPower Summit event, organised by trade association SolarPower Europe.

Reaching the 3GW-per-year milestone will make the 3SUN facility company competitive in terms of cost, Bernabei said, because currently “we are only competitive in terms of efficiency”.

It was suggested in another panel discussion at the virtual event that European solar companies may need up to €7 billion (US$8.51 billion) in capital investment to scale up solar manufacturing to be globally competitive.

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