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Kyocera to More Than Double Solar Production

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Japanese electronics maker Kyocera (s KYO) believes solar’s star is rising, and the company said it plans to expand its solar cell production to keep up with growing global demand, building a new large-scale solar cell manufacturing facility in Yasu City. Kyocera said it will be the company’s largest manufacturing plant in Japan.

The cost of the new facility was not disclosed, but Kyocera said that, combined with its existing Yohkaichi plant, the new site will more than double its annual production of solar cells to 650 megawatts (MW) by March 2012, up from a projected output of 300 MW this year.

Kyocera, which makes fine ceramic and semiconductor parts and telecommunications equipment, said its new solar plant is part of a strategy to continue as a fully integrated solar module manufacturer. The company said it covers the entire production process, from procuring and casting raw silicon to producing solar cells and assembling modules.

Earlier this year, Kyocera reportedly made a deal to help put some sun power into the next-generation Toyota Prius. Solar panels from Kyocera could be used to help power the car’s air conditioning system.

Construction of Kyocera’s new manufacturing plant is scheduled to start in early 2009 and be completed by the end of the year. The first solar cells are expected to start rolling off the production line in the spring of 2010.