Midsummer awarded US$44m to support Italy thin film factory plans

Midsummer’s factor will product thin film solar roofs that will be supplied to the southern European market. Image: Midsummer

Swedish thin film solar cell manufacturer Midsummer will receive roughly €38 million (US$44 million) worth of financial incentives to build a 50MW factory in Bari, Italy.

Confirmed by Italian authorities last week (30 October), the incentives come in the form of grants and soft loans, which make up 35% and 23% of the total project investment of €66 million (US$76.5 million), respectively. The ‘soft loans’ are provided by the investment arm of the Italian state, Invitalia.

Midsummer had already purchased the plant in Bari in southern Italy and can now begin filling it with equipment and recruiting staff.

It is expected to begin production of its thin film solar roofs in the summer of next year and represents the first Swedish project to be included in Italy’s €190 billion (US$220 billion), EU-backed recovery plan.

“We are very happy to receive these very advantageous grants,” said Sven Lindström, CEO of Midsummer. “We will tenfold our maximum production capacity and the finished factory will make Midsummer the largest producer of thinfilm solar cells in Europe.”

The factory will be wholly owned by subsidiary Midsummer Italia and will produce the company’s thin film solar roof product – primarily for the southern European market – that has experienced surging demand in the Nordic countries of over 500% in Q3 this year, the company said.

European solar manufacturing has been a subject of much discussion of late, particularly against a backdrop of supply chain and logistics issues disrupting the global supply of PV products. Financing has been cited as a key barrier to a ramp up of domestic solar manufacturing in Europe with upstream facilities often regarded by financiers as riskier investments than downstream projects.

PV Tech Premium explored the drivers behind a return of solar manufacturing to Europe here.