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Solar Factory Planned in the USA

Solar Factory Planned in the USA
February 21, 2022 Kai Frolic

Italian giant, Enel Green Power, is an international renewable energy corporation, generating power from: 

  • Wind.
  • Solar.
  • Hydroelectric and geothermal installations. [1]

They boast projects in 21 countries with more than 50 gigawatts of capacity installed.

Enel Eyes USA

Enel currently operates the 3SUN factory in the northern Italy, which is one of the largest solar photovoltaic manufacturing plants in Europe [2]. There are plans to scale this factory up to 3 gigawatts in 2024 as part of a push to develop the next generation of solar panels [3]. The company is seeking to open another factory of this type in the USA. The USA is one of the countries within which Enel foresees developing the vast majority of its additional capacity, with 6.5 gigawatts of green energy in North America in the next three years.

USA Targets

The current administration in the USA has signalled great enthusiasm for green energy, particularly solar which they have said could provide 40% of the country’s energy in the next 15 years [4]. This would represent a drastic increase from the current figure of 3%.

The plans for rapid expansion of green energy are driven by a desire for decarbonisation and plans to boost jobs in the sector at the same time.

Unsurprisingly, critics of the plans to transition to green energy remain. The usual suspects when it comes to arguing against a green transition are the cost of renewable energy and concerns around intermittency that is inherent to technologies like solar and wind. Occasionally, we are treated to more outlandish concerns, like the time the (then) president of the United States claimed that wind turbine noise caused cancer [5], which is a real thing that happened in 2019.

New factories, such as the one proposed by Enel, appear to be our best hope for ultimately bringing the cost [6] of such technologies down. As far as intermittency goes, there are technological advances that mitigate this to some extent, such as battery storage. In addition, there is data that suggests the reliability of grids that incorporate large amounts of renewable energy is greater than that of their fossil-fuel based counterparts [7].

It remains to be seen whether the USA really will deploy solar at the intended rate. However, the wheels are clearly in motion for a significant boost in green power, specifically solar, in the coming years.

Pager Power

Pager Power has developed proprietary software for evaluating of glint and glare from solar developments, including quantification of measures to mitigate these effects. If you would like advice for a project, or are interested in more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

References

[1] Source: Enel Green Power website (link), last accessed February 2022.
[2] Source: Enel Green Power website (link), last accessed February 2022.
[3] Source: Jewkes, S. (January 2022), Enel plans to ‘copy and paste’ Italy solar panel factory in U.S. (link), Reuters, last accessed February 2022.
[4]
Source: Brower, D (2021), US clean-energy blueprint contains 40% solar goal for 2035 (link), Financial Times, last accessed February 2022.
[5] Taylor, R (2019), Donald Trump claims wind turbine noise causes cancer (link), Sky News, last accessed February 2022.
[6] Pierce, RJ (2021), Renewable Energy Plans From White House Deemed ‘Not Financially Feasible’ (link), Tech Times, last accessed February 2022.
[7] Lovins, A and Ramana, M (2021), Three Myths About Renewable Energy and the Grid, Debunked (link), Yale Environment 360, last accessed February 2022.

Thumbnail image accreditation: Chuttersnap (September 2018) on Unsplash.com. Last accessed on 20th February 2022. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/Q3r3Ws-o54s

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