Enel picks Oklahoma site for planned USD-1bn-plus solar panel factory
3Sun solar panel factory. Image source: Enel North America (www.enelnorthamerica.com)
Enel North America, part of Italian utility group Enel SpA (BIT:ENEL), said on Monday that it will invest over USD 1 billion (EUR 924.8m) in the planned US solar photovoltaic (PV) cell and panel factory, selecting the town of Inola in Oklahoma as the manufacturing site.
The Inola factory is expected to have an annual production capacity of 3 GW, which could be expanded to 6 GW per year in a potential second phase.
Construction is subject to final approvals, necessary permits and economic incentive agreements. Enel North America expects to break ground in autumn 2023 and have the first USA-made solar panels out in the market by the end of 2024, it said.
The factory will create some 1,000 new direct permanent jobs by 2025, with the possibility to add 900 new jobs if it grows to 6 GW.
“The planned factory will be among the first in the United States to produce solar cells, the fundamental building block of PV modules, and will incorporate a high-performance bifacial heterojunction technology (HJT),” the company said.
It will be Enel’s second solar panel factory and the first one overseas. The company currently operates a 200-MW per year facility in Catania, Sicily, through its solar panel manufacturing brand 3Sun.
The White House released a statement from US President Joe Biden in response to Enel’s IRA-enabled investment in Oklahoma. The statement reads in part:
“Today’s announcement from Enel is just the latest proof that my Investing in America agenda is working, and American manufacturing is back. Good-paying jobs that Americans can raise a family on are being created in towns and communities in every corner of the country. [...] These new investments should be an investment not just in manufacturing, but also in our middle class. Companies like Enel have the opportunity to hire the most highly skilled, dedicated, and engaged workers in the world - American union members”.
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