Sharp Expands Solar Cell Production Capacity to 600 MW Per Year

Sharp Corporation has increased annual production capacity for solar cells at its Katsuragi Plant in Nara Prefecture by 100 megawatts (MW) to meet increasing demand in Japan and abroad. Solar cell production capacity at the Katsuragi Plant is expected to reach 600 MW per year.

In an investment amount approximately equal to 3.5 billion yen [US$30 million], Sharp has constructed a system that is designed to enter full production by November 2006. In Japan, photovoltaic (PV) systems are increasingly being used for industrial applications and are being installed on new residential construction in collaboration with homebuilders, despite concerns in the PV power-generating market about a shortage of processed silicon. Due to the introduction of subsidies and implementation of policies mandating power buy-back programs by utilities, demand in Europe and the U.S. is expected to expand, particularly in industrial and commercial uses, despite the shortage of silicon. In addition to expanding and upgrading its production lines, Sharp is working to make solar cells thinner, thereby using minimal amounts of the raw material, silicon, as well as establishing highly efficient production systems.
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