Expanding Domestic Solar Production Capacity in the US
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Increasing Solar Capacity in the US
Enel announced its intention to build an industrial-scale solar production facility in the United States. The investment is part of our plan to deploy over $8 billion by 2024 to reach 14 GW of total renewable capacity in the US and Canada.
The facility will be the first to manufacture innovative, sustainable photovoltaic (PV) modules and cells in the United States. PV cells are the key building blocks that make up solar panels. American-made cells will provide stability to the US supply chain and strengthen energy independence while accelerating sustainable energy goals. Once completed, the US facility will increase national production capacity by 6 GW.
Leveraging Existing Manufacturing Expertise
This will be Enel’s second solar PV manufacturing facility. To get it up and running, we will replicate the success of the 3Sun Gigafactory — the largest factory producing high-performance bifacial PV modules in Europe.
Since 2010, we have been establishing our solar manufacturing leadership. In less than 12 years, we have increased production at 3Sun 15-fold, scaling the facility from 200 MW to 3 GW. 3Sun regionalized the solar industry value chain and accelerated growth of renewable energy in Europe. Enel’s second factory will do the same in the US.
Strengthening US Energy Independence
Recent changes in regulation and logistics disruptions mean solar projects in the US are typically slower and more costly. Locally made solar components will decrease reliance on international manufacturers to close both supply and demand gaps. The new facility will bolster domestic energy sources and accelerate speed and scale of the clean energy transition.
The US facility will significantly increase domestic capacity for solar production, decreasing reliance on international sources and bolstering growth of US-generated energy. Domestic PV panel manufacturing is set to accelerate the completion of solar projects and bring low-cost energy supply online faster. The new availability stands to advance decarbonization and net zero goals.
Outlining Factory Plans
The 2.5 million square foot facility will create up to 1,500 new jobs. Enel is evaluating prospective sites with plans to finalize the new factory’s location by the end of 2022. We are considering land availability, the presence of a skilled workforce, connections to transportation networks, and tax incentives and structures in the decision.
Currently, we are engaging potential partners, including engineers, suppliers, offtakers, and investors. Construction is expected to begin by summer 2023 with job postings for key positions in engineering, technology, and procurement to be posted in the near future. We expect the facility to be operating at partial capacity by the end of 2024, reaching full capacity in 2025. At least 3 GW of capacity is expected to be produced; that will scale to 6 GW.
Innovating Solar Technology
Enel technology is pioneering PV efficiency by producing high-performance panels and cells that deliver more electricity, more sustainably. The US facility will produce innovative bifacial heterojunction (B-HJT) PV cells designed to increase the value of investment and carbon reduction impact of solar projects.
Bifacial cells respond to light on both front and rear surfaces to capture more sunlight. We have developed a new tandem cell structure that incorporates two stacked cells, increasing efficiency over single-celled structures. Cells that incorporate both bifacial and tandem technology deliver higher energy production, exceeding 30% efficiency. These new cells produce more electricity per panel, requiring a smaller geographic footprint to produce the same amount of energy. We are targeting a carbon zero, neutral manufacturing process for solar cells and modules manufactured in the US.