The new plant becomes Kyocera’s second solar cell manufacturing plant along with the company’s Shiga Yohkaichi Plant. The new Yasu Plant employs an enhanced manufacturing line, which increases productivity by 20% compared with the Yohkaichi Plant.
The main product to be manufactured at the Yasu Plant is the company’s newly enhanced cell with an average energy conversion efficiency of 16.9%. These cells are used in the company’s 215-watt solar module — one of solar power industry’s top power output levels — which is slated for sales to the global market.
In 1982, Kyocera was the first company in the world to start mass production of multicrystalline silicon solar cells. In the 28 years since, the company has cultivated its material and production technologies to manufacture high-performance solar cells. With the new plant and existing Yohkaichi Plant, Kyocera plans to increase production volume, targeting 1GW of annual production by March 2013. Furthermore, the company will continue to increase its solar module assembly capacity to meet the demands of the market, aiming to further expand its solar energy business.
"Together with the existing plant at Yohkaichi, the new Yasu Plant will be Kyocera’s core production site for solar cells," stated Tetsuo Kuba, president of Kyocera Corporation. "In addition to mass-producing cells with Kyocera’s highest conversion efficiency, the new plant will also undertake R&D activities for next-generation cell technology."
Kyocera Corporation, the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine ceramics (also known as "advanced ceramics"). By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of solar power generating systems, telecommunications equipment, electronic components, laser printers, copiers, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial ceramics.
During the year ended March 31, 2009, the company’s net sales totaled 1.13 trillion yen (approximately USD11.5 billion). The company, which marks its 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of its U.S. operations this fiscal year, is ranked #418 on Forbes magazine’s 2009 "Global 2000" listing of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.