Capacity concentration: Sharp’s UK manufacturing facility will produce 500MW by Feb. 2011

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email

Sharp has revealed that it is set to increase annual production capacity at its UK-based manufacturing base (SUKM) in Wrexham, Wales, by 100%, doubling up from the current 250MW of crystalline solar cell modules per year to 500MW. The increase will begin in December 2010, with the aim of completion by February 2011.

SUKM, which is Sharp’s second international production base (the first located in the U.S.), began producing solar cell modules in the spring of 2004. The Japanese manufacturer must now expand its production capacity to meet the ever-growing global demand for solar cell modules.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

With environmental government policies becoming more frequently apparent all over world – – for instance the recent implementation of the UK feed-in tariff – – solar cell module market requirements are expected to spike. To meet this demand, Sharp is now expanding its solar cell business from two sides-crystalline solar cells and thin-film solar cells. The company’s confident prediction for a large increase in demand is mirrored in the timescale it has given to complete this enlargement, increasing to double production in just seven months, with gradual upscale from December, is fast paced to say the least.

By increasing its capacity, Sharp will also push forward with a “local production for local consumption” approach in order to amplify cost competitiveness and shorten delivery times. This means that delivery to the UK will climb from 1% in 2009 to approximately 10% by 2011.

The total cost of this expansion is expected to cost Sharp around 4 billion yen.

“We wanted to prove to the Government and critics that if stability was put in [the UK market] then PV companies would invest in the country,” noted Andrew Lee, general manager of Sharp Solar in the UK. “We wanted to go further and deliver on our promises such as a solar academy to properly train installers in the UK.”

Starting in October, Sharp will be offering regular training courses for installers wanting to use its solar modules with programmes ranging from a couple of days to full weeks.

Lee said in an interview with PV-Tech that he sees this as crucial part of the overall expansion in module production at the Wrexham plant. As the market expands more, Sharp modules will be installed in the UK, requiring more fully trained installers, promoting correct procedures and installations that reflect the professional work needed at the start of real growth in the market.

From a UK market perspective, Lee said that he expects approximately 45MW to be installed in 2010, a tremendous increase over an installed base that was barely in double figures before the feed-in tariff was introduced in April, 2010. A 250MW market in 2012 makes sense, according to Lee.

“We used to export 99% of module production in the UK to Europe that has changed with 10% and more allocated to the UK market. This is a massive jump from the past and reflects the growth and long-term reality of the UK market,” added Lee.

In further good news for the UK market, Sharp is planning to make available higher efficiency cells that will see modules of over 200W available. Shipments from Japan are expected near the end of the year and will include back contacted cells for greater performance. Lee also noted that modules close to 300W are also planned for 2011.

Lee said that higher efficiency modules would be phased in at both new and existing lines at the Wrexham plant. He strongly believes that the stability now in place in the UK PV market will now allow the job creation promised, as well as a renewed focus on manufacturing and investment in the UK.

Additional reporting by Mark Osborne.

Read Next

Sponsored
July 12, 2024
PV Tech spoke with Helena Li at the Intersolar Europe 2024 event, about how Trina is looking to ensure effective operations.
July 12, 2024
Canadian asset owner Brookfield has acquired a majority stake in Indian clean power company Leap Green Energy in a US$200 million equity investment.
July 12, 2024
China started conducting a trade and investment barrier investigation on the measures used in the EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FAR).
Premium
July 12, 2024
Even though the solar PV market in Ecuador is currently non-existent, with only a few projects operational and mostly in the distributed generation market, it is about to take off, says José Luis García Pérez, Latin America’s CEO at Spanish developer Zelestra, formerly known as Solarpack.
July 12, 2024
Swiss Utility BKW Energie AG has sign a power purchase agreement with food and beverage company Nestlé in Germany.
July 12, 2024
IRENA has found that the world’s renewable power capacity will need to increase by 16.4%, year-on-year, to meet the world’s climate targets.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Solar Media Events
October 15, 2024
Santiago, Chile