3Sun, a manufacturing joint ventureusing Sharp advanced Triple-junction technology to produce solar panels in Sicily, Italy has recently been established by Enel Green Power, Sharp Corporation and STMicroelectronics NV.
The Catania-based factory will start operations in 2011, with an initial capacity of 160 MWp per year. Yearly output is expected to reach 480 MWp in the next few years. The 3Sun factory will be the second largest Si thin film solar factory in the world after Sharp facility in Japan, and its output will be used by ENEL Green Power and Sharp to serve a large market that extends to Europe, Middle East and Africa.
This agreement covers the supply of very large volumes of specialty gases, the pipeline supply of carrier gases and the provision of all related services. Air Liquide will build the entire gas distribution and gas abatement networks on a turnkey basis. In order to meet these needs, Air Liquide will invest in additional hydrogen production capabilities in Sicily and also in the specialty gases supply chain.
Air Liquide, which has been present in the photovoltaic Italian market from the beginning by serving key alternative energy customers, becomes with this contract the major player of the country in this sector.
Augustin de Roubin, Vice-President Southern and Eastern Europe of the Air Liquide Group and member of the Executive Committee, commented: “This important contract further strengthens our position in Italy which is already one of the main European countries for Air Liquide.