EGP takes 3Sun as Sharp exits

Italy’s Enel Green Power (EGP) will take sole control of the 3Sun PV manufacturing operation under a deal that also marks former joint venture partner Sharp’s retreat from solar production in Europe.

3Sun – which produces 200MW of thin-film modules annually at its plant in Catania, Sicily – will continue as a wholly-owned subsidiary of EGP after a deal that sees the Italian renewables group take the one-third shares of Sharp and the third partner in the venture, STMicroelectronics.

EGP said the thin-film products made by 3Sun will be used to serve its project pipeline in regions such as South Africa and South America.

Sharp said it will continue to provide technical support to 3Sun, which opened its doors in July 2011 as Italy’s largest PV module plant.

Financial details of the transaction were not given. The deal is subject to various approvals.

The Japanese giant had already pulled out of a separate joint venture with EGP to develop PV projects in the Mediterranean region using modules produced by 3Sun.

The departure of Sharp from 3Sun follows its earlier decisions to end module production in the UK and US.

Sharp previously said its solar focus is to move towards EPC business at “mega-solar” plants. It will continue to export modules and serve its booming domestic market from its plants in Japan.