DigiTimes via Witsview: Sharp has decided to develop its “manufacturing complex for the 21st Century” by pouring US$3.3 billion into a 1.27 million m2 area in Sakai City, Osaka, Japan. The site will host a state-of-the-art LCD fab and a solar cell plant. The LCD plant will be a G10-class fab that can handle glass substrates with 2850 x 3050mm dimensions, which is 60% larger than the largest G8 currently in mass production. Total input capacity is expected to be 72,000 glass substrates per month starting with an initial glass substrate input capacity of 36,000 per month.
Construction will begin in November and mass production is expected to commence in March 2010. The solar cell plant will manufacture thin-film solar cells. Currently, Sharp is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells in terms of volume and touts a world’s best efficiency for thin-film solar cells. Sharp plans to generate 1 million kW per year from thin-film solar cells making the plant the world’s largest. Mass production will begin in March 2010, the same time as the G10 LCD plant. My question is: why have the LCD and solar cells separate?