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Sharp announces New Thin-Film Solar Cell Plant in Sakai

Horizontal Deployment of Thin-Film Technology for TFT LCDs – Annual Production Capacity on 1 GW Scale
Tokyo, Japan, Mar 27, 2008
Source:Sharp Corporation / press release

Sharp Corporation has made a total capital investment of approximately 72 billion yen to build a thin-film solar cell plant in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture that is capable of boosting annual production up to a scale of 1 GW per year.  Production will begin by March 2010 with a 480 MW initial production capacity for solar cells. Combined with the 160 MW capacity of the Katsuragi Plant (Nara Prefecture), this will expand Sharp’s global total production capacity for thin-film solar cells to 1 GW in April 2010.

The market for solar cells is expected to expand rapidly. And as the number of large-scale solar power generation systems around the world increases, it is said that solar power will become a staple of renewable energy in the future.  With the introduction of the new manufacturing facility in the Sakai Plant that utilizes large-size glass substrates, jointly developed together with Tokyo Electron Limited, Sharp will dramatically improve production efficiency and be able to respond more efficiently to booming demand. The Sakai Plant will also serve as a model for thin-film solar cell plants to be developed around the world.

Main Features of the New Thin-Film Solar Cell Plant in Sakai

1. Manufacturing complex for the 21st century

Through horizontal deployment of TFT LCD thin-film technology, a cutting-edge LCD panel plant and a thin-film solar cell plant will be established next to each other, allowing infrastructure facilities and materials manufacturing plants, etc., to all be concentrated within the same manufacturing complex.

2. Enlarging glass substrate size

Production efficiency will be improved through the enlargement of the glass substrate size to 1,000 x 1,400 mm, which is approximately 2.7 times larger than the area of previous substrates (560 x 925 mm).

Solar Cell Plant Overview

Location:                Sakaihama District of Sakai City,      Osaka Prefecture
Production item:         Thin-film silicon solar cells
Plant scale:             1 GW
Initial prod. capacity:  480 MW
Investment:              Approximately 72 billion yen
Start of operations:     By March 2010
Glass substrate size:    1,000 x 1,400 mm

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