The French firm, Air Liquide has signed a significant long-term contract with 3Sun. The company will become the sole supplier of gases and services to 3Sun, a joint venture between Enel Green Power, Sharp Corporation and STMicroelectronics NV.
3Sun utilises Sharp advanced Triple-junction technology to produce solar panels in Sicily, Italy. It was established in answer to a growing European demand for solar-powered installations. The facility will be located in Catania and shall begin operating in 2011, with an initial capacity of 160 MWp per year, which is expected to increase to 480MWp over the subsequent few years.
Augustin de Roubin, Member of the Executive Committee and Vice President of Southern and Eastern Europe at the Air Liquide Group, said, “This important contract further strengthens our position in Italy which is already one of the main European countries for Air Liquide. We are honoured to be awarded this contract by 3Sun, which reinforces our leadership to each segment of the solar panels manufacturing industry.”
Roubin continued, $quot;Air Liquide has been chosen based on the competitiveness of its offer, our leadership position in the silane market, its solar research and development roadmap and our strong presence in the Italian market. The Solar market is at the crossroads of High-Tech, Energy and the Environment, three growth drivers for the Air Liquide Group.”
The Catania 3Sun factory will become the second largest Si thin film solar factory in the world after the Sharp facility in Japan. Furthermore, the trio will utilise the output to serve a large market that extends from Europe to the Middle East and Africa.
Air Liquide has enjoyed a long presence in the photovoltaic industry in Italy and with this agreement, the Group will become the definitive major presence in this sector throughout Italy. Within the agreement, Air Liquide will supply large quantities of speciality gases, the pipeline supply of carrier gases and the provision of all associated services. Furthermore, Air Liquide is contracted to build the gas distribution and abatement networks on a turnkey basis. The company will meet these requirements through investment in speciality gases and hydrogen production in Sicily.