The new facility would produce HJT cells and modules. Image: Enel Green Power

Italian utility Enel’s US subsidiary Enel North America has said that Oklahoma is the favourable location for its planned 3GW US cell and module manufacturing facility.

The project would be established through 3Sun USA, Enels’ renewable energy manufacturing affiliate. In a statement, head of 3Sun USA Giovanni Bertolino said: “We are currently finalising our evaluation of prospective sites for the facility, considering factors such as land availability, the presence of a skilled workforce, connections to transportation networks, and tax and incentive structures in making our siting decision.

“We have identified Oklahoma as the leading candidate and we are excited about the possibility of expanding our presence in the state.”

Enel already has an office in Oklahoma city and a portfolio of projects in the state amounting to around US$3 billion.

The facility was announced in November, along with plans to scale up production to 6GW in the fullness of time. Construction is expected to begin this year, with the first modules set to roll off the production line in 2024. It would focus on producing bifacial heterojunction (HJT) cells.

It will be Enel’s second PV factory. Last year the company announced plans to expand the capacity of its Southern Italy module plant to 3GW.

PV manufacturing capacity in the US is expanding under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) . Rayzon solar announced plans for a 500MW module assembly plant last month, and both Hanwha Qcells and JA Solar have made significant announcements this year.

In the background of these announcements, the ongoing turbulence of the US antidumping tariff saga is putting pressure on domestic capacity expansion. A total of 400 solar companies petitioned congress last week to uphold US president Joe Biden’s waiver on import duties from Southeast Asia in order to allow solar deployments to continue whilst domestic capacity catches up with demand. A group of US lawmakers has been attempting to reinstate the duties and remove the waiver, which the Solar Energy Industries Association said would lead to over US$1 billion in retroactive tariffs and 4GW of project cancellations.

The US is heavily reliant on imports to meet its solar demand and domestic capacity needs time to get up and running.

Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that Biden would move to veto a cancellation of the waiver if it passed a vote in the House of Representatives.

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