TechOn: Sharp announced its cumulative production of solar cells surpassed 2GW at the end of 2007. The company is the first solar cell manufacturer to surpass a cumulative production of 2GW in the world, according to Sharp. The company also estimates the worldwide cumulative solar cell production to be at 8GW, making Sharp’s production to account for 25%.
Sharp began volume production of solar cells in 1963 and thin-film solar cells in 2005. The company manufactures solar cell material and manufacturing equipment. In 2007, Sharp established its Toyama plant for Si solar cell material production. In February 2008, Sharp entered into a joint venture with Tokyo Electron to develop manufacturing equipment for thin-film solar cells.
Currently, Sharp is the only Japanese solar cell manufacturer that is authorized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Sharp manufactures solar cells for Japan’s satellites programs.
A new thin-film solar cell manufacturing plant, with an annual capacity of 1GW, will begin operation in FY2009. Sharp, according to the company, is not only the largest manufacturer of solar cells, it walks the talk. Most of Sharp’s manufacturing facilities and other buildings have roofs tiled with solar cells that generate a good portion of the energy that the company needs. In addition, more than 90% of the water that Sharp uses to manufacture LCDs are recycled.