Sharp is increasing production of solar panels at its factory in Japan to meet burgeoning global demand for the products, it said Monday.
The company, which was recently tapped to supply more than 9,000 panels to power Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, said it would raise annual production capacity by a fifth to reach 600 megawatts per year.
Sharp is already one of the largest manufacturers of solar panels, and with the expansion the factory, in Katsuragi, will have the largest output in the world of solar panels, Osaka-based Sharp said. It will spend about 3.5 billion yen (US$30 million) on the expansion and expects it to be completed in November.
The solar panels in question use photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. Such panels are becoming increasingly popular in consumer and industrial power systems around the world.
Sales of solar panels by Sharp totaled 80.8 billion yen in the April-to-September period this year, the company said last week. For the current financial year, from April 2006, Sharp expects solar panel sales to be 200 billion yen, which if achieved will be up 27 percent on the previous financial year.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
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