The future of solar energy is being studied at the Enel Innovation Lab in Catania. For five days, from 12 to 16 June, researchers and technicians from all over Europe were guests at the Enel laboratories in Passo Martino to carry out radiation and solar spectrum measurements. The objective is to calibrate and compare measurement instruments, to make sure that the measurements made in the different European countries are mutually compatible and to define methods and protocols to determine as precisely as possible the energy yield of the various photovoltaic technologies.
This is the seventh edition of the International Spectro Radiometer and Broadband Inter-comparison, promoted by the Joint Research Center (JRC) at Ispra, the solar energy research centre of the European Commission, which had already asked to be hosted at the Catania Innovation Hub in 2012.
In March this year, the Enel research centre was also visited by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. During the visit, Francesco Starace, Enel CEO, presented the investment plan totaling over €100 million in Enel's Sicilian technology centre, including €80 million for the 3Sun photovoltaic factory and €20 million for the Innovation Lab. Thanks to the new investment, the Innovation Lab will become a technological campus and an accelerator for young entrepreneurs to foster research and innovation in the energy sector. It will host local and national start-ups and major Italian and international research centres, and it will have ties with the world of innovation also through the other Enel Innovation Labs in order to be a meeting place of excellence in the field of innovative technologies.
Recently, Enel has also signed an agreement with the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) to set up a laboratory dedicated to the development of innovative high-efficiency solar cells and photovoltaic systems at the research centre in Catania.