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Italy's Enel picks Oklahoma for $1B solar factory

Alan Neuhauser
May 22, 2023
Enel Green Power photovoltaic plant in Cosenza, Italy. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Enel Green Power photovoltaic plant in Cosenza, Italy. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Italian energy giant Enel is investing more than $1 billion to build a solar cell and module factory in Oklahoma, the company announced Monday.

Why it matters: The plant will be among the largest such plants in the U.S., and reflects the impact of new manufacturing incentives and ongoing trade disputes with China.

Details: The plant in Inola, Okla., will churn out 3 GW of solar products a year. Enel expects it to begin production by the end of next year, it said in a statement.

  • Capacity could eventually double to 6 GW a year.

Be smart: The Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last summer awards a 10% tax credit for solar cells made in the U.S. That's sparked a series of high-profile manufacturing announcements.

  • Chicago-based developer Invenergy and Chinese solar manufacturer Longi unveiled a $600 million planned investment to build a 5 GW solar panel factory in Pataskala, Ohio, for the the utility-scale and rooftop solar markets.
  • Tempe, Ariz.-based manufacturer First Solar announced plans last year to invest up to $1 billion in a new panel factory and another $200 million to expand its existing plant in Ohio.

Plus: Oklahoma has offered Enel up to another $180 million if the company hits certain milestones.

Bottom line: Companies are planning 47 GW of new solar manufacturing capacity in the U.S. — up from 8 GW of existing capacity last year.

What they're saying: "We wanted to move fast," Giovanni Bertolino, head of Enel's construction arm, 3SunUSA, told Reuters. It cited the Tulsa region's water, energy and workforce as factors that led to it selecting the site.

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