Sharp Corporation has built a third solar cell manufacturing line for multi-crystal silicon solar cells at the company’s Shinjo No. 3 Plant in Nara Prefecture, Japan. The plant is fully operational, producing 148 MW of PV cells annually.Tokyo, Japan – July 31, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] As worldwide concern about environmental preservation continues to grow, PV power generation systems have been basking in the limelight. With their ability to supply renewable, clean energy and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, solar power systems are rapidly increasing in demand in Japan, Europe, and North America. This increase in demand has prompted Sharp to continuously boost manufacturing capacity at the Shinjo Plant: capacity was 30 MW (14.9 percent of world share) in 1999, 50.40 MW (17.5 percent) in 2000, and 75.02 MW (19.2 percent) in 2001. Sharp thus became the world’s leading producer of solar cells in both 2000 and 2001. With 2002 expected to bring more demand than ever worldwide, Sharp aims to increase manufacturing capacity to 200 MW by the end of FY2002. The building of a third solar cell manufacturing line for multi-crystal silicon solar cells at the Shinjo No. 3 Plant is a big step in this direction and brings the number of solar cell lines at the plant to five (1 single-crystal silicon solar cell line, 4 multi-crystal silicon solar cell lines). The combined annual manufacturing capacity of 148 MW makes the Shinjo Plant the largest single solar cell producing facility in the world. This increase in the manufacturing capacity of solar cells will be accompanied by the start of production of photovoltaic modules at the Yao Plant (Yao, Osaka Prefecture) at the end of July. This will be the third Sharp plant, after the Shinjo Plant and the Tochigi Plant (Yaita, Tochigi Prefecture), to make photovoltaic modules.