Enel North America and its affiliate, 3Sun USA, plan to build an industrial-scale manufacturing facility for solar PV cells and panels in Inola, Oklahoma. The site will be among the first United States factories to produce solar cells, the building block of PV solar panels.
Enel is investing $1 billion in the facility, and construction of the factory is to begin in the fall of 2023 with the first panels will be available to the market by 2024. The more than 2-million-square-foot factory is expected to maintain an annual production rate of 3 gigawatts, or about 3.1 million solar panels. The project includes a potential second phase that would allow the factory to produce 6 GW annually.
“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,” said Giovanni Bertolino, head of 3Sun USA. “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. 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.”
Enel has invested $3 billion over the last decade in Oklahoma, where they already have 13 wind farms and a regional office in Oklahoma City. As the largest economic development project in the state’s history, which will bring in more than 1,000 jobs, state officials are encouraged by the solid, well-paying jobs that this expansion will offer. House Speaker Charles McCall cites the project’s potential to attract people to Oklahoma and help it become a more “business-friendly and family-friendly” state.
High-Performing, American-Made Solar Components
By working with 3Sun, Enel North America is able to produce the most innovative solar components in the market. 3Sun’s double-sided HJT solar module produces 15% to 20% more electricity than single-sided panels. Further, the panels include highly efficient cells with lower degradation, providing a long, useful life for their solar panels. 3Sun continues to improve its solar technology and is soon to release record-achieving efficiency with its tandem technology, which allows more light to be captured through two stacked cells.
While the majority of solar components are currently imported, this development marks a trend toward expanding domestic production of solar components. Increased demand for solar along with the Inflation Reduction Act’s support for stateside solar manufacturing supports a rapidly growing American solar industry.