Enel Selects Oklahoma For US$1 Billion, 3-GW Solar PV Cell And Panel Manufacturing Facility

    First Panels Are Expected To Be Available To The Market By The End Of 2024

    The 2 million sq.ft. (185, 806-m2), 3-GW factory represents a planned investment in excess of US$1 billion, creating more than 1800 construction jobs. (Image Courtesy Of Enel)

    Enel North America, through its affiliate 3Sun USA LLC, announced it has selected Inola, Oklahoma, as the location to site its industrial-scale manufacturing facility for American-made photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. The more than 2 million-sq.ft. (185, 806-m2) factory represents a planned investment of US$1 billion, creating more than 1800 construction jobs.

    The factory, which is expected to have an annual production capacity of 3 GW, is anticipated to create around 1000 new direct permanent jobs by 2025. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2023, subject to final approvals, necessary permits, and economic incentive agreements. The first panels will be available to the market by the end of 2024. The project includes the potential for a second phase that would scale the factory to reach 6 GW of annual production, creating an additional 900 new direct jobs.

    “We are proud to help usher in a new era of American-made energy and do so with a state that is already a leader in the energy industry. Our selection of Oklahoma is a testament to the strength of the Tulsa Port of Inola site, the state’s commitment to workforce development, and an attractive investment climate,” said Giovanni Bertolino, head of 3Sun USA. “With this announcement, we are taking a major step forward in developing a state-of-the-art PV factory, bringing hundreds of jobs and millions in long-term tax revenue, while moving Oklahoma to the forefront of renewables manufacturing.”

    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).

    Enel has been present in Oklahoma for more than a decade, during which time it has invested US$3 billion to expand its footprint in the state, which now includes 13 wind farms and a regional office in Oklahoma City to support its growing workforce. 3Sun in Catania, Italy, produces high-efficiency cells, unveiling its new HJT solar module in September 2022, which will begin production in September 2023. The double-sided HJT can secure higher-than-average energy production, producing approximately 15% to 20% more electricity than conventional single-sided panels, and offers significant efficiency improvements, with a certified cell efficiency of 24.6%. In addition, the technology’s lower degradation ensures a longer useful life for modules, and the cells’ high density is conducive to a variety of applications, including land-constrained utility-scale installations or rooftops. In the near future, 3Sun will introduce its next generation tandem cell technology, which in May 2023 broke a record achieving a certified efficiency of 26.5%. The tandem technology uses two stacked cells that allows for more light to be captured compared to single-cell structures.