Sharp plans to more than double solar cell production

Sharp is planning to more than double its production of solar cells over the next few years from 710 megawatts to 1.7 gigawatts with a new plant and expansion.

Sharp is planning to more than double its production of solar cells over the next few years as it targets sun-rich nations in southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Central and South America and Africa.

The company, which is based in Osaka in western Japan, sees its total solar cell output rising from the current 710 megawatts to 1.7 gigawatts around 2010.

To hit this goal it is planning to invest YEN 72 billion (US$72.5 million) to build a state-of-the-art factory in Sakai, which is close to its Osaka headquarters. The new factory will be capable of producing 480 megawatts worth of cells per year by March 2010 when it is due to start production.

The cells will be thin-film type which are best suited for use in hot countries where there is plenty of sun.

Sharp's current total production of thin-film cells is just 15 megawatts, but a previously planned expansion will take this to 160 megawatts by October this year. The new plant will bump total production up to 640 megawatts, and Sharp plans to raise this even further to 1 gigawatt with as yet unannounced additional production overseas.

And further expansion is still possible. The new Nara plant will start at 480 megawatts but is being built for a total capacity of 1 gigawatt.

Additionally Sharp is producing crystalline-type cells, which are suited to colder areas like northern Europe, North America and East Asia. Production currently stands at 695 megawatts per year. Sharp hasn't detailed any plans to expand manufacturing of such cells.

The market for solar cells is expanding quickly as greater production brings lower prices, governments begin offering incentives to use clean energy sources and consumers of electricity generally become more aware of environmental issues.

Total worldwide demand for solar cells was about 2.5 gigawatts last year and is expected to almost double to 4 gigawatts this year, according to data from Sharp. The company expects demand to continue rising and hit 10 gigawatts in 2010.

One of Sharp's highest profile customer wins for its solar business came last year, when Google kicked off an ambitious deployment of Sharp solar cells on its Mountain View campus. The solar panels, which cover almost the entire roof space of the complex, are now in operation and produce about 1.6 megawatts of energy. That's enough to cover about one-third of the total energy consumption of the campus, according to Google.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?