Sharp to power solar panel factory with solar energy

Sharp plans to partially power a new solar panel factory with energy generated from a solar installation on the plant's roof, it said Monday.

Sharp plans to partially power a new solar panel factory with energy generated from a solar installation on the plant's roof, it said Monday.

The company and local power utility Kansai Electric will install Sharp solar panels on the roof of the factory and other buildings in the new complex with the aim of initially generating 9 megawatts of power. The system will expand to eventually reach 18 megawatts -- that represents about 5 percent of the total energy consumption of the plant, said Sharp.

The YEN 72 billion (AUS$69 million) plant is being constructed in Sakai City, near Osaka in western Japan, and will be capable of producing 480 megawatts worth of cells per year by March 2010 when it is due to start production.

The factory will make thin-film type solar panels that are best suited for use in hot countries where there is plenty of sun. Thin-film panels use 1 percent of the silicon required to make conventional crystalline-type panels and so are easier on the environment from a production standpoint.

The factory is part of Sharp's plant to more than double production of solar panels over the next few years in response to rising demand for solar panels from consumers, companies and power utilities.

At the same time that Kansai Electric announced plans to work with Sharp in its Sakai plant, the utility said it plans to build a 10-megawatt solar plant in an industrial area close to the Sharp factory. The company has yet to award a contract to a panel maker for this project.

Additionally Sharp said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian utility Enel regarding a planned solar panel plant in that country. Details of the size, location and timing of the plant are yet to be decided, Sharp said.

Sharp won recognition for its solar business when Internet portal and search-engine operator Google said it would use Sharp panels as part of a 1.6-megawatt installation on the company's roof top in Mountain View, California.

Join the newsletter!


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


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


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?