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3 min.

Catania, at the Sun Factory

The documentary, conceived and directed by Palermo-born artist Pierfrancesco Li Donni, brings the audience behind 3SUN’s closed doors.

An idea that becomes a factory, and the sun’s energy to change the future. What could tell this story better than a film? It all began in Catania, in August 2010. Producing solar panels in a land with such great complexity was a truly endearing challenge. Thirteen years later, 3SUN - an industrial plant to manufacture photovoltaic panels, which started out as one of Enel Green Power’s projects - is a leading company in the technological innovation field.

With an ambitious goal: to become a gigafactory by 2024, with an annual production capacity going from the current 200 megawattS to 3 gigawattS, and thus to become the leader of an energy transition completely free of any fossil fuel. This exciting journey is narrated in a documentary, “La Fabbrica del Sole”, written and directed by Palermo-born director Pierfrancesco Li Donni.


In the heart of 3SUN

Commissioned by Enel Green Power and produced by Lucia Gotti Venturato, President of the Associazione SoleLuna - Un Ponte Per le Culture, “La Fabbrica del Sole” is not just the story of a dream that came true. Li Donni, author of the documentaries “Loro di Napoli” and “La Nostra Strada” - takes us directly to the core of the action and of the challenge undertaken, “producing sun on an industrial scale”. Cosimo Gerardi and Giovanni Renna - 3SUN Gigafactory Innovability Manager and Operation Manager, respectively - explain all this, as proven by the team’s hard work, and the efforts toward reshoring, i.e. bringing the photovoltaic panel production, which is currently the appanage of Asia, back to Europe. “It’s very rare to walk into a place of work, and find so many executives, technicians and workers so passionate, so in tune with one another”, says the Director. “And the only way to talk about it - with cinema’s times and rhythms - was building a story that started from every-day things, based on small gestures, on the Innovation Team’s intuitions, on the availability of the Operation guys, on the beauty and uniqueness of such a modern and harmonic facility.”


A constantly evolving photovoltaic

So harmonic that even the solar cell production process, in its constant journey of research, study and experimentation of new materials, potential, cost-benefit maximization, seems like a pleasant symphony. On the ashes of a technology created just ten years ago, another one is developing, which contains the seeds of what it will become. We start with the development of high-efficiency bi-facial heterojunction silicon photovoltaic modules (HJT, HeteroJunction Technology) - one of 3SUN’s leading productions - to innovate the innovation in the future, with the Tandem technology, which, by increasing the efficiency by over 30% and markedly improving the reliability, will ensure giant steps forward in photovoltaic cell effectiveness. The figures are promising. At full capacity, the Gigafactory will be able to produce and handle approx. fifteen thousand solar panels per day, in a sustainable way, for a total of five million and a half panels per year. This quantity will always be supported by quality and by a dual management: large photovoltaic fields and building roofs.


New models for old issues

Frame by frame, Li Donni reveals all of 3SUN’s uniqueness, in its capacity of interpreting the challenges posed by climate change, and of replying with new production models geared toward energy autonomy. A reality that enhances human resources, offering opportunities and jobs to young brilliant minds, and which significantly helps the economy of what - on the footsteps of the American Silicon Valley - is already called the Etna Valley: an ecosystem in Catania industrial area where Open Innovation and Digital Innovation are key development tools.

The documentary is available on Enel Green Power's website.