Today, Enel Green
Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics signed an agreement for the manufacture
of triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic panels in Italy. At the same time,
Enel Green Power and Sharp signed a further agreement to jointly develop solar
Today's agreement regarding the photovoltaic panel factory follows the Memorandum
of Understanding signed in May 2008 by Enel Green Power and Sharp. STMicroelectronics
has joined this strategic partnership.
This agreement marks the first time that three global technology and industrial
powerhouses have joined together in an equal partnership to contribute their
unique value-add to the solar industry. It brings together Enel Green Power,
with its international market development and project management know-how; Sharp,
and its exclusive triple-junction thin-film technology, which will be operational
in the mother plant in Sakai, Japan as of spring 2010; and STMicroelectronics,
with its manufacturing capacity, skills and resources in highly advanced, hi-tech
sectors such as microelectronics.
The factory, located in Catania in the existing M6 facility to be contributed
by STMicroelectronics, is expected to have an initial production capacity of
160 MW per year. The plant's capacity is targeted to be gradually increased
to 480 MW per year over the next years and right from its start will represent
the single most important production facility for solar panels in Italy. Photovoltaic
panel manufacturing at the Catania plant is expected to start at the beginning
The project of 160 MW will require a total investment of 320 Million euros and
will be funded by a combination of equity, state grants and project financing
with no recourse to the Joint Venture's shareholders beyond their quota in the
Joint Venture. Each partner will subscribe one third of the equity - an expected
contribution up to 70 million Euros each, either in cash or in-kind - and will
hold one third of the shares in the new Joint Venture Company.
The factory output will be used to serve the most attractive solar markets in
the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region with a particular focus on
the Mediterranean area. In this region, Enel Green Power and Sharp already have
important sales networks and also plan to jointly develop solar farms. Enel.si,
the Enel Green Power company specializing in the installation of photovoltaic
systems in the retail market, will also participate in the marketing effort,
offering panels directly and through its franchisee network of over 500 qualified
installers in Italy.
Enel Green Power and Sharp have signed an additional agreement aimed at the
creation of an equal joint venture to develop solar farms. The goal is to install
cumulative capacity at a level of 500 MW by the end of 2016, making use of the
photovoltaic panels manufactured at the Catania factory. The effectiveness of
the agreements signed by the parties is conditional upon the clearance released
by the relevant authorities concerned.
Triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic panels are particularly suitable for
medium and large-scale photovoltaic power generation. Compared to ordinary silicon
solar panels, the triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic modules are able to
maintain a very high level of energy conversion efficiency even in very hot
climates. Thanks to their lower silicon content, these modules are also less
exposed to raw silicon price volatility.
Catania represents an ideal location as it takes full advantage of an existing
semiconductor plant and related facilities as well as of very important workforce
skilled in silicon-based manufacturing. In addition, Catania hosts Conphoebus,
an Enel research center fully dedicated to renewable sources, solar in particular,
and energy savings. Moreover, Sicily is one of the key regions in the Mediterranean
area for the development of solar farms and provides a unique location for all
logistics necessary to reach the neighboring markets.