13 Comments

Summary:

Japanese consumer electronics maker and solar giant Sharp plans to boost its thin film manufacturing capacity six fold. The company is still working on reaching its goal of 1 gigawatt of production capacity by 2010 but Toshishige Hamano, a vice president in Sharp’s solar-battery division, told […]

Japanese consumer electronics maker and solar giant Sharp plans to boost its thin film manufacturing capacity six fold. The company is still working on reaching its goal of 1 gigawatt of production capacity by 2010 but Toshishige Hamano, a vice president in Sharp’s solar-battery division, told reporters today that as early as 2014 that number could jump to 6 gigawatts. Hamano, speaking at the opening of Sharp’s new thin-film production line at its Katsuragi Plant, added that Sharp is aiming for a 50 percent market share in thin-film solar by 2012.

With this news we wonder what the fate is of the small thin-film solar startups. If giants like Sharp and Q-Cells are investing millions of capital into scaling up solar lines, how can young, less well-funded companies compete? While demand is still greater than supply, if the real promise of thin-film solar rolling off the production lines as a commodity is to be realized, the smaller startups could really struggle.

Beyond thin film solar, Sharp is looking to regain its title as the world’s largest producer of solar cells. Last year, German solar maker Q-Cells edged past Sharp to become the world’s largest producer of solar cells. According to PHOTON International, Q-Cells produces 370 megawatts of cells in 2007 while Sharp produced 363 megawatts.

Sharp is also producing the machines that make thin film solar cells. Earlier this year Sharp formed a joint venture with chip equipment maker Tokyo Electron — with Sharp owning 49 percent — and the JV expects to start producing and selling the equipment in 2009.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Environmental Capital – WSJ.com : Green Ink: Here We Go Again Thursday, October 2, 2008

    [...] energy is going seriously mainstream, as Sharp announces a six-fold increase in its thin-film solar manufacturing capacity, which could squeeze out the little guys, at Earth2Tech. One upside to the [...]

  2. Wall Street Journal » Blog Archive » Green Ink: Here We Go Again Thursday, October 2, 2008

    [...] energy is going seriously mainstream, as Sharp announces a six-fold increase in its thin-film solar manufacturing capacity, which could squeeze out the little guys, at Earth2Tech. One upside to the [...]

  3. Total Solar Energy Friday, October 3, 2008

    i’m afraid it’s just market forces. it happens in all walks of life and it’ll happen here also. instead of complaining, maybe we should be praising sharp for giving solar a push into the future

  4. SPI: Schwarzenegger, Sharp and Solar Industry Buzz Words « Earth2Tech Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    [...] thin-film solar production is very aggressive — the company plans to increase production to 6 gigawatts of capacity over the next few years and this month will start volume production of its next-gen thin-film solar at its Katsuragi Plant, [...]

  5. LG Swaps Plasma TVs for Solar Panels « Earth2Tech Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    [...] their cleantech businesses, especially in the solar arena. Meanwhile, Japanese firm Sharp is gearing up its massive 1 gigawatt thin-film solar fab plant and recently announced it will sell its products into the U.S. [...]

  6. LG Swaps Plasma TVs for Solar Panels Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    [...] their cleantech businesses, especially in the solar arena. Meanwhile, Japanese firm Sharp is gearing up its massive 1 gigawatt thin-film solar fab plant and recently announced it will sell its products into the U.S. [...]

  7. Oerlikon’s “Intel-Inside” Approach to Thin-Film Solar « Earth2Tech Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    [...] systems, formed its own dedicated solar division in 2007. Meanwhile, Japanese electronics giant Sharp ambitiously claimed that it would secure half of the thin-film solar market by [...]

  8. Oerlikon’s “Intel-Inside” Approach to Thin-Film Solar Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    [...] systems, formed its own dedicated solar division in 2007. Meanwhile, Japanese electronics giant Sharp ambitiously claimed that it would secure half of the thin-film solar market by 2012. Oerlikon’s O’Brien [...]

  9. Sharp and Enel Teaming Up on Thin-film Solar « Earth2Tech Friday, November 28, 2008

    [...] Japanese firm has big plans for thin film, with Executive Vice President Toshishige Hamano saying in September that Sharp is gunning for a 50 percent market share in thin-film solar by 2012. Sharp opened a new [...]

  10. Sharp and Enel Teaming Up on Thin-film Solar | Eco Friendly Mag Saturday, November 29, 2008

    [...] Japanese firm has big plans for thin film, with Executive Vice President Toshishige Hamano saying in September that Sharp is gunning for a 50 percent market share in thin-film solar by 2012. Sharp opened a new [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post