A one-stop-shop producing solar cells and modules

Catania, Sicily, is home to an innovative solar panels factory, which is manufacturing integrated, multi-junction, thin-film photovoltaic cells and modules for home and industrial use.

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3Sun, as the entity is aptly named, is an equal share joint venture between Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics. The factory's output of 240 MW a year is intended to meet the demands of solar power markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Job creation and a stronger economy

3Sun aims at both bolstering Italy's position in the photovoltaic technologies arena and creating high quality jobs for Sicily and the surrounding areas. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 600 direct jobs will be generated with another 1 500 people in the region gaining employment indirectly. Apart from jobs, experts predict that that 3Sun's very existence is injecting some EUR 200 million into the local economy.

Good news for the environment

The uptake of 3Sun's solar technologies is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 310 kt (kilotonnes) by 2015 and decrease fossil fuel use. The project is also likely to help Italy meet crucial targets for renewable energy use. Interestingly, the plant itself is intended to bring about energy savings of some 21 % due to its ability to produce electricity, heat and cooling in tandem.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Plant for the production of think-film technology photovoltaic cells and modules, for a capacity of 240 MegaWatt/year” is EUR 537 780 144, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 24 527 500 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project is funded through the priority “Energy production from renewable sources” of the Operational Programme “Renewable energies and energy efficiency”.

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