An agreement was signed by Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics for the manufacture of triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic panels in Italy. Enel Green Power and Sharp had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard in May 2008. STMicroelectronics has joined the partnership for the manufacture of photovoltaic panels. In addition to the manufacturing agreement, Enel Green Power and Sharp has signed another agreement to develop solar farms jointly.
This agreement brings together three global technology companies for the manufacture of photovoltaic panels at a factory that is located in Catania. The factory is to be provided by STMicroelectronics at its existing M6 facility. The Catania production facility initially will have the capability to produce 160 MW annually and the capacity will be ramped up to 480 MW annually over the next few years. In Italy, this will be most important facility for the manufacture of solar panels. Production of photovoltaic panels at the plant is scheduled to commence in 2011.
A total of 320 Million euros is required for the project for manufacturing 160 MW per year. The funding for the project is a combination of project financing, state grants and equity. The three partners will be contributing one-third of equity equally, which is estimated to be up to 70 million Euros each. The partners will contribute in either kind or cash for the equity.
The solar markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region will be served from this plant. Enel Green Power and Sharp have established key sales networks in this region and both the companies are planning to develop solar farms jointly. The marketing efforts will also joined by Enel.si, an Enel Green Power company. Enel.si provides photovoltaic installation service in the retail market. The company will be marketing the panels directly as well as offering them through its franchise network.
The solar farms development agreement signed by Enel Green Power and Sharp aims to install a total capacity of up to 500 MW by the year 2016. The joint venture will utilize the solar panels manufactured at the Catania facility. Triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic panels are better than ordinary silicon solar panels and are most suitable for large-scale and medium-scale solar power generation.