New solar panel plant helps firm respond to rapid growth in sector

New solar panel factory built with EU support leads to large new orders and further investment in state-of-the-art production line.

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ERDF support helped Enfoton Solar Ltd develop its automated production line for solar panels ERDF support helped Enfoton Solar Ltd develop its automated production line for solar panels

With 30 per cent year-on-year growth in the solar panel sector, Enfoton Solar Ltd knew it had to raise production capacity to remain a major player.

Rapid growth

Founded in 2002, Enfoton Solar’s main activity is the production of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for the export market. It also, as the only PV panel producer in Cyprus, operates in the domestic market, including in wholesale and retail.

Developing rapidly from the start, the company exceeded European average growth for the sector of 30 % a year after producing its first polycrystalline solar module in 2003.

This EU-funded project was part of a major investment to build a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and company headquarters. It brought in cutting-edge technology and manufacturing equipment, as well as facilities for warehousing, materials handling and offices.

Recognised well beyond Cyprus for its success, Enfoton Solar Ltd was awarded the European Union Excellence Award 2008 in the category ‘Best European Union Exporter for Exports per Capita’. 

Major exporter

Completing the new factory in 2009 enabled the company to increase its annual production capacity from 1 MW in 2003 to 60 MW (equivalent to the production of 300 000 PV panels). It also led to the creation of 34 new jobs.

This major boost in production capacity led to increased international orders, which allowed the company to further improve the facility: by May 2010, it had added further production lines and increased manufacturing capacity to 110 MW, or 480 000 PV modules. Today the plant has one of the most automated production lines of solar panels in the world.

In 2010, the company exported 52 MW of photovoltaic panels and had a turnover of EUR 85 million, a 44 % increase on 2009. It produced 228 000 solar panels, up from 131 000 in 2009. The vast majority of these – 98 % - were for export, mainly to other EU countries. The firm’s output represented 15 % of total exports for Cyprus for 2010.

“Although the subsidy represents a small percentage of the total investment, it was nonetheless very important to support this export-focused project,” said Constantinos Pyrkettis of the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. “Not only does solar technology have a very promising future globally, but the Enfoton investment helps Cyprus, an island with abundant solar energy potential but which is heavily dependent on imports, to improve its balance of trade.”

Total and EU funding

The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 340 000 to the project “Technological upgrade of a photovoltaic manufacturing plant” through the Cyprus “Sustainable Development and Competitiveness” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The total plant investment is estimated at about EUR 12 million.

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