Subtitle: After Sakai in Osaka
In September 2005 Sharp began mass production of tandem thin-film solar cells. The TFPV (Thin Film Photo Voltaic) cells had a tandem-junction structure (amorphous silicon and microcrystalline silicon). Now, Sharp is making solar arrays with a laminate of amorphous silicon and crystal thin film silicon. Sharp has achieved module conversion efficiencies of approximately 10% with these thin-film solar cells with a triple-junction structure, which is approaching the industry’s top level for TFPV.
Sharp Corp recently announced an investment of 22 billion yen ($200 million) earmarked for its Katsuragi Plant to increase capacity for production of thin-film solar cells. By October 2008, Sharp expects to go from the current level of 15 MW (megawatts) to 160 MW (160,000 kW) per year. In noting this announcement, Jim Fraser records that Sharp had previously announced plans to ramp up its thin-film capacity with a new plant in Sakai in Osaka prefecture. Reuters reported that the new operation was scheduled to go online by March 2010 with an eventual target output of 1,000MW per year at this facility. “Sharp also has UK production capability of 220MW,” notes Fraser.