Japan solar cell makers to boost production - paper
TOKYO - Major Japanese solar cell makers, Sharp Corp , Kyocera Corp and Sanyo Electric Co , are boosting output capacity as demand grows on heightened environmental awareness, a newspaper said on the weekend.
Sharp, the world\'s largest solar cell manufacturer, will double output capacity this year by building new production lines, investing about 10 billion yen ($79 million), the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said without citing sources.
Its output capacity would reach 200 megawatts, compared with the current 94 megawatts, the business daily said. Sharp\'s increased output capacity would be enough to power some 50,000 houses.
Sharp will also increase the number of workers at its solar cell division by 20 percent and aim to boost revenue there by 55 percent to 49 billion yen in the current business year to March 2003, it said.
The company said in January it would boost output by 50 percent this year to outdistance rivals such as Kyocera, after raising capacity last May. The news had sent its share price up almost four percent.
The Nihon Keizai said Kyocera would follow Sharp\'s lead, lifting output capacity by 20 percent, while Sanyo Electric would raise output by 40 percent as it resumed exports of solar cells for the first time since 1997 last month.
While the use of solar cells as a source of energy is still negligible, demand is expected to rise as countries around the world seek to reduce emission of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto treaty against global warming.
Sharp said late last year it expected industry-wide solar cell output to soar at an annual rate of 40 to 50 percent over the next several years, with Japan accounting for over 50 percent of global production by 2003.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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