Enel Green Power, Sharp and STMicroelectronics will together develop Italy’s biggest photovoltaic panel factory with project financing of €150m ($196.7m).

With the signing of the project financing agreement, the 3Sun equal share joint venture will enter its operational phase.

The joint venture aims to start operations at the Catania factory for the integrated production of innovative photovoltaic cells and panels.

The initial production capacity of 160MW per year will be financed through a combination of self-financing and €49m in funding from the Italian Joint Ministerial Committee for Economic planning (CIPE).

Yearly output of the factory is expected to reach 480MW over the coming years and panel production at the Catania plant is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2011.