Sharp Corporation is to bring forward the planned production of its next-generation solar thin-film plant, based in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, according to Reuters, which cited a company spokesman. Sharp had planned production to start at the 1GW capacity facility in March 2010, but cited an increase in demand for the revised start, expected by the end of 2009.
Citing growing demand as the reason for the production being brought forward could be a moot point. Sharp had already announced in December 2008 that it would be bringing forward production of its next-generation TFT-LCD production at the jointly located facility. The move to improve its competitive position in an over-supplied LCD market by employing larger Gen 10 panels to cut production costs is seen as a key cost reduction strategy.
According to market research firm iSuppli Corp., large-sized TFT-LCD panel prices have continued to decline since the beginning of 2008 with prices reaching cash-cost levels.
Should the revised start materialise, Sharp would possibly need to revise upwards capital spending plans for FY2009 and FY2010, to take into account the earlier than expected ramp.