Sharp’s outsourcing strategy reinforced with closure of US solar module plant



Sharp Corporation is planning to stop PV module assembly production at its plant in Memphis, Tennessee by the end of March 2014, according to reports citing company officials.

Sharp recently announced the closure of its PV module assembly plant in the UK. The planned closure of the US assembly plant would draw a line under its overseas PV production operations.

The company set in motion a major restructuring plan to drastically cut massive losses in 2012, having invested heavily in an advanced production complex in Japan for large-scale flat panel TV and a-Si thin film production.

The move to consolidate PV production in Japan is also part of Sharp’s strategy to significantly increase production outsourcing to reduce capital expenditure and become more flexible in meeting demand from the booming Japanese solar market.

According to NPD Solarbuzz, Sharp was able to gain market share on the back of the boom in PV deployment in Japan, becoming the third largest supplier in 2013, up three places from 2012.

The Memphis plant was established in 2003 and ramped to around 160MW by 2011, during a period of growth in the US residential market. The facility had tripled production since starting and had nearly 450 workers at its 2011 peak.

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