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Sharp world’s first company to reach 2 GW in cumulative solar cell production volume!


At the end of 2007, Sharp Corporation became the first company to reach 2 GW in cumulative solar cell production volume in the world. Sharp has been involved with solar power for 49 years: the company began research into solar cells in 1959 to develop a new technology to follow the success of the television and started mass-production in 1963. It is estimated that the current world’s cumulative solar cell production volume is 8 GW, meaning Sharp has produced a full one-quarter of this.
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In 1966, a lighthouse on Ogami Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan was equipped with what was then the world’s largest solar power system of 225 W for lighthouses. The panels were replaced just once and have been working for the past 25 years.
Press release after the jump


In November 2006, Japan’s last manned lighthouse, the Meshima Lighhouse in Nagasaki, went unmanned as it was equipped with a Sharp solar power system.
At the end of 2007, Sharp Corporation became the first company to reach 2 GW in cumulative solar cell production volume in the world. Sharp has been involved with solar power for 49 years: the company began research into solar cells in 1959 to develop a new technology to follow the success of the television and started mass-production in 1963. It is estimated that the current world’s cumulative solar cell production volume is 8 GW, meaning Sharp has produced a full one-quarter of this.
In 1966, a lighthouse on Ogami Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan was equipped with what was then the world’s largest solar power system of 225 W for lighthouses. The panels were replaced just once and have been working for the past 25 years. In November 2006, Japan’s last manned lighthouse, the Meshima Lighhouse in Nagasaki, went unmanned as it was equipped with a Sharp solar power system.
In 1967, Sharp began developing solar cells for use in outer space and the first products were installed on the Ume application satellite in 1976. Currently, Sharp is the only company in Japan authorized to provide solar cells to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The long-term reliability of Sharp-made solar cells has been proven beyond a doubt: Sharp solar cells function in harsh environments, such as the over 1,900 lighthouses subjected to water and wind around Japan, as well as the over 160 satellites subject to the extreme degrees of temperature that occur in outer space.
With the start in 1994 of Japan’s boundary system for home owners, Sharp began mass production of residential solar power generation systems, marking the start of full-scale sales for household use. In 2005, Sharp began mass production of tandem thin-film solar cells; in 2007, it started operations at the Toyama Plant for the manufacture of silicon for solar cells; and in February 2008, it announced a collaboration with a production equipment company to develop equipment for manufacturing thin-film solar cells. This gives the company a value chain encompassing everything from raw material to devices.
Sharp’s strength is that it can supply solar cells to meet specific regional needs: crystalline solar cells for cold, high latitude regions and thin-film types for warm regions. And with the start of operations (fiscal 2009) of the thin-film solar cell plant in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, which will have an annual capacity of about 1 GW, the cost of generating solar power will be about half of current levels in 2010. In other words, we are aiming to achieve the target set by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) of 23 yen/kWh, which is about the same as the current cost of household electricity. As we approach 2009, a date marking Sharp’s 50th year in developing solar cells, we will do what society expects of an environmentally advanced company: contribute to reducing global warming by developing even more innovative technologies and by spreading the use of clean, renewable solar energy.




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