UniCredit supports 3Sun with 560m euro funding for Catania solar panel factory expansion

UniCredit supports 3Sun with 560m euro funding for Catania solar panel factory expansion

(IN BRIEF) Italian bank UniCredit has signed a €560m project financing agreement with renewable energy company 3Sun, part of Enel Green Power, to fund the expansion of its solar panel factory in Catania, Sicily. The loan is divided between a €475m senior term loan and an €85m VAT loan. The facility, named TANGO, is set to be one of the largest solar panel factories in Europe, with an annual capacity of three gigawatts, following an investment in bifacial heterojunction photovoltaic cells. The expansion is expected to create about 1,000 jobs by 2024, with an increase in local PV production.

(PRESS RELEASE) MILAN, 13-Feb-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — UniCredit S.p.A (BIT: UCG), Italy’s only systemically important bank, has announced the signing of a project financing agreement with 3Sun, an Enel Green Power company, for a maximum amount of 560 million euros to finance the expansion of 3Sun’s solar panel factory in Catania, Sicily. UniCredit acted as Structuring Mandated Lead Arranger, Global Coordinator, and Bookrunner for the project.

The financing comprises a 475 million euro senior term loan and an 85 million euro VAT loan. SACE, the Italian export credit agency, is partially counter-guaranteeing the senior term loan through the Green Guarantee initiative. The financing will contribute to the development of TANGO, an industrial-scale manufacturing plant for high-performance photovoltaic (PV) modules.

The expansion of the factory will result in a 15-fold increase in its capacity to 3 GW per year, making 3Sun the largest gigawatt-scale factory in Europe producing high-performance bifacial PV modules. The expansion of the factory is expected to create about 1,000 jobs by 2024, leading to the revitalization of a European PV value chain and contributing to the reduction of the continent’s energy dependence.

The 3 GW of panels produced annually by the factory can generate up to about 5.5 TWh of renewable electricity per year, which has the potential to avoid the equivalent of nearly 25 million tons of CO2 in their first ten years of operation. The production generated by the gigafactory’s panels has the potential to avoid the purchase of nearly 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas per year, replaced by internally generated renewable energy.

The factory has a strong commitment to research and development in collaboration with international research centers, industry-leading companies, and start-ups, with the goal of developing new recycling processes for the management of end-of-life PV modules through the recovery and reuse of materials, in a fully circular perspective.

Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of Enel said: “With the signing of this long-term project financing agreement we have reached another important milestone for the Gigafactory, confirming the robustness and attractiveness of the initiative. The solar module factory we are building in Catania will be at the forefront in terms of innovative technology and automation of industrial processes and will contribute to the EU’s goal of achieving 40 percent energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030, as well as help reduce energy dependence. With this project we are demonstrating the feasibility and scalability, including financially, of a sustainable industrial model that can be replicated for other factories of this type to be developed in the coming years in other countries as well.”

Andrea Orcel, CEO of UniCredit said, “We are pleased to have made a decisive contribution to the success of this transaction, which will enable our country to have a high-tech production facility of a size that will help significantly reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In 2022, UniCredit generated €11.4 billion in new green and sustainability-related loans. For UniCredit, sustainable finance is essential to supporting the energy transition, providing concrete solutions to accelerate the journey of our customers and the communities in which we operate toward a more equitable and sustainable future. With Enel, we are part of the CEO Alliance, the action tank in Europe focused on driving decarbonization and digitization on the continent through targeted collective initiatives. This transaction further demonstrates the tangible benefits of our collaboration on different levels.” 

Alessandra Ricci, CEO of SACE, said, “We are proud to continue supporting the Enel Group, this time in Italy, and we are pleased to do so together with UniCredit for the expansion of Italy’s largest solar panel factory. A strategic initiative that will contribute to the reduction of our country’s energy dependence, developing domestic production in a high-tech sector and increasing employment in the Sicilian territory. This intervention is a new concrete step forward consistent with the objectives of the Insieme 2025 industrial plan and confirms our commitment, for a total of 3 billion euros in green guarantees in 2022 alone, in the implementation of the Green New Deal to support investments by Italian companies in technologies for the ecological transition.” 

Media contacts

Media Relations e-mail: MediaRelations@unicredit.eu

SOURCE: UniCredit S.p.A.


Follow EuropaWire on Google News

Comments are closed.