Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp has seen sales of its solar cells increase by over 80% in the first half of this financial year compared to the same period in 2012.
The increase was driven by strong domestic demand for solar cells in both utility scale and residential sectors, the company said in its financial results to the end of September 2013.
The first half of 2012 showed sales of Y93 billion (US$946 million) while for the equivalent period of this year, solar cell sales totalled Y168 billion (US$1.7 billion).
Sharp said it would secure further profitability by continuing to expand its sales in the booming Japanese market in line with “steady demand”.
The company identified three clear sectors for its future solar business: residential, industrial (utility scale and ‘mega’ solar) and overseas.
In residential, this will include expanding product ranges for various roof types and increasing investment in home energy management systems (HEMS) and storage systems as well as boosting sales and marketing activity.
For large scale and utility in the industrial segment, Sharp said it would continue with the steady completion of installations and “increase sales based on strengthened product supply and servicing systems, and acquire mega-solar power generation projects through enhanced design and sales function”.
The company also announced that it would “expand its solution and developer business” in the overseas market.
As of 1 April this year the group reorganised its divisions, moving its solar cell business from ‘electronic components’ to ‘product business’, which boosted the performance of the division, Sharp said. Product business includes LCD colour televisions and other consumer electronics.
Sharp issued 408,000,000 shares by public offering at Y279 (US$2.84) per share earlier in the month, along with 42,000,000 shares sold at Y267.36 (US$2.72) per share to Japanese financial institution Nomura. Funds raised by the latest sale and capital from previously issued shares will be reinvested in full, according to the company’s reports. The company declared that part of this will be invested in a new product combining building materials and consumer electronics.
A recent report released by Yano Research Institute indicated that demand for large scale solar in Japan is expected to fall rapidly after 2014. Along with Sharp, other Japanese consumer electronics companies including Panasonic are expected to consolidate business efforts further in the residential sector, including building integrated design.
Meanwhile Sharp’s UK solar module assembly plant in Wrexham, Wales, was reported by PV-Tech to be near full capacity in early September due to demand in the European residential market.