Sharp Solar announced a range of installations using solar modules that were manufactured at Sharp’s U.S. solar panel manufacturing facility. The plant opened in Memphis five months ago to meet the increasing demand for solar energy in the U.S.Memphis, Tennessee – March 11, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The solar manufacturing facility, based at Sharp Manufacturing Company of America, is assembling 165-, 167- and 185-watt solar panels for residential and commercial installations. Current annual capacity is 20 MW, all focused on manufacturing solar products for the domestic solar market. Notable projects (currently underway or planned) that feature Sharp solar system installations include a one-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) system at Butte County Center in Oroville, California (with Sun Power and Geothermal Energy, Inc.), which will make it one of the top 10 largest solar energy systems in the U.S.; the Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, California (with WorldWater Corporation and Contra Costa Electric, Inc.); solar-powered buildings and work yards in the city of Fresno, California, which at 550 kW will be one of the largest solar projects of its kind on the West Coast (with PowerLight Corp.); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ union halls in New York (with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the National Photovoltaic Construction Partnership); as well as numerous other businesses and organizations from a mix of industries, including schools, automotive facilities, churches and government offices. “These are just a few ‘shining’ examples of Sharp’s commitment to solar energy growth in the U.S. market, and evidence of solar energy increasingly becoming a viable alternative for a variety of businesses and residences,” said Ron Kenedi, General Manager of Sharp Electronics’ Solar Systems Division. Sharp’s Memphis factory is dedicated to supplying product for the U.S. solar market, so Sharp has the ability to maintain consistent product availability in critical U.S. markets, explained Kenedi. “By maximizing our Memphis production, we can ensure that our channel partners always have ample product to meet their customers’ needs.” In 2002, Sharp accounted for 22-percent of the total global demand of 560 MW of solar energy, thereby holding the world’s leading position for the third consecutive year. For 45 years, Sharp’s photovoltaic research and development has led to numerous innovations in the industry, including the introduction of triangular solar modules and a Sharp-manufactured and branded UL approved inverter. Sharp solar electric systems are featured in more than 100,000 installations worldwide.