Italy Invests €90 mn in Enel’s Sicilian Photovoltaic Panel Factory Expansion

Enel begins work on Pulida

Italy has committed to investing €90 million ($97 million) in Enel’s photovoltaic panel factory located in Sicily, according to an announcement by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Saturday.

The substantial investment, sourced from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), is aimed at supporting Enel’s plan to transform the Sicilian facility into Europe’s primary site for solar panel manufacturing. Prime Minister Meloni shared details of the investment during her visit to the 3Sun plant in the city of Catania.

“This project, with 90 million euros from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, will allow the current factory to strengthen itself and for a further new production line to be established,” stated Prime Minister Meloni, expressing confidence in the potential of the venture.

Emphasizing the regional significance of the project, Meloni added, “Our bet is for Catania to become one of the most important hubs in solar panel production.”

The existing production capacity of Enel’s 3Sun plant, approximately 200 megawatts (MW) per year, is poised to undergo a substantial expansion, reaching 3 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the current year.

Despite a six-month delay compared to Enel’s initial announcement in 2022, the expansion aligns with broader European Union objectives to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and reduce dependence on gas imports from Russia.

Prime Minister Meloni highlighted the employment opportunities associated with the project, with plans to create 700 new jobs directly within the 3Sun plant by the end of 2024 and an additional 1,000 jobs indirectly through collaborations with supporting companies.

The investment in the Sicilian factory follows Enel’s securing of a €560 million financial package in January, consisting of funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a consortium of Italian banks led by UniCredit. Additional financial support is expected from the European Union’s innovation fund dedicated to green technology projects.

Prime Minister Meloni underscored the importance of competitiveness in the sector, stating, “We want and we need to be competitive in this sector compared to Asian players.”

Enel is currently in discussions with potential investors for a potential sale of up to 50 percent of the factory, according to sources familiar with the matter. The move aligns with broader trends in the global renewable energy landscape and positions Italy as a significant player in the sustainable energy transition.