Sharp Reaches 2-GW of Solar Production

At the end of 2007, Sharp Corporation became the first company to reach 2 gigawatts (GW) in cumulative solar cell production volume in the world. The company began research into solar cells in 1959 to develop a new technology to follow the success of the television and started mass-production in 1963. It is estimated that the current world’s cumulative solar cell production volume is 8 GW, meaning Sharp has produced a full one-quarter of this.

In 1966, a lighthouse on Ogami Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan was equipped with what was then the world’s largest solar power system of 225 watts for lighthouses. The panels were replaced just once and have been working for the past 25 years. In November 2006, Japan’s last manned lighthouse, the Meshima Lighhouse in Nagasaki, went unmanned as it was equipped with a Sharp solar power system.
In 1967, Sharp began developing solar cells for use in outer space and the first products were installed on the Ume application satellite in 1976. Currently, Sharp is the only company in Japan authorized to provide solar cells to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Sharp’s Cumulative Solar Cell Production Volume in MW

    Year         Volume   
    1998           45
    1999           30
    2000           50
    2001           75
    2002           123
    2003           198
    2004           324
    2005           428
    2006           434
    2007           363
    Total          2070

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