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Enel launches mega solar PV manufacturing facility

The sun sets on a field of solar panes near the completion of installation in Adams, Massachusetts.

Enel North America is set to build an industrial-scale production facility in the US for manufacturing solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, following the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) incentives for domestic production.

Acting through its subsidiary, 3Sun USA, Enel is expecting the facility to be among the first in the US to produce solar cells, with a minimum production capacity of 3GW and the possibility to scale annual production to 6GW. First panels are expected on the market by the end of 2024.

"Recent policy tailwinds from the Inflation Reduction Act have served as a catalyst for our solar manufacturing ambitions in the US, ushering in a new era of made-in-America energy," said Enrico Viale, head of Enel North America. "With this announcement, it is our intention to bolster a robust domestic solar supply chain that accelerates and strengthens the US's transition to clean energy.”

Fewer than five large-scale solar module manufacturing facilities (more than 1GW) are currently operating in the US, while annual US solar PV installations are projected to grow from 16GW in 2022 to 41GW by the end of 2025, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Enel will leverage its expertise and experience from its 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania, Italy, which produces PV modules and is set to become Europe’s largest solar PV factory.

Enel’s announcement follows First Solar, which said Wednesday that it has selected Alabama as the site for its fourth US solar panel manufacturing facility.

First Solar will spend around $1.1 billion on the facility in North Alabama’s Lawrence County.

Enel North America’s portfolio includes over 8GW of utility-scale renewable capacity, 606.8MW of utility-scale energy storage, 63MW of distributed energy storage capacity, 4.7GW of demand response capacity and 110,000 electric vehicle charging stations.