Energy providers invest in Sharp solar power plants

For the first time, Sharp Energy Solution Europe is building solar power plants for energy providers in Germany. It is a project in cooperation with EnBW Erneuerbare Energien GmbH on the one hand and a project for the PFALZWERKE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT through the partner EUROSOL on the other.

With an investment sum of around € 6 million in 2009, both megawatt projects promise good yields. Sharp’s silicon-based thin-film technology is a central success factor for the profitability of photovoltaics. Sharp’s 50 years of experience in the solar market make it the ideal partner when it comes to secure investment in profitable large-scale solar projects.

EnBW is entering into the solar energy market as an investor with the Leibertingen solar park in Baden-Württemberg and makes use of Sharp‘s solar technology in the process. The same goes for PFALZWERKE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, with its photovoltaic plant in Höheinöd, Rhineland-Palatinate.

“Together with our partners, we could realise a showcase project which will act as a beacon even beyond the boundaries of the regions”, says Peter Thiele, Executive Vice President of Sharp Energy Solution Europe. “Both solar power plants clearly demonstrate how cost-effective photovoltaics can be, especially the thin-film technology. They make it clear that photovoltaics is a secure, profitable and environmentally friendly energy technology, thus making it a lucrative future model for energy providers.”

Roughly 17,000 Sharp thin-film modules produce environmentally friendly electricity in each of the solar power plants. With an anticipated 2.1 million kilowatt hours of solar energy, each plant can supply 600 households annually and save 1,200 tons of CO2.

Ideal technology for large-scale solar projects
Sharp’s second-generation microamorphous thin-film modules are used in both power plants: the 1.42 square metre silicon-based modules generate a high yield and are well-suited to sophisticated system designs thanks to their low output voltage of 60 volts.

“We put the world’s largest thin film cell factory online in March 2010 in Sakai, thus increasing our production capacity to its current 870 megawatts,” reports Peter Thiele. The technology enterprise also produces LCD panels in addition to solar cells here.

The similar production processes secure important competitive advantages for Sharp: "In Sakai, we can produce the raw material-saving thin film modules highly efficiently and cost-consciously”, Peter Thiele continues. In the future, Sharp intends to produce thin film cells in Sakai in a microamorphous triple-junction structure and expand the production capacity to up to 1,000 megawatts.

On the whole, renewable energies are increasingly gaining importance due to the rising demand for energy worldwide with a simultaneous shortage in fossil fuel resources.

“For that reason, we see an immense future market in the field of large-scale solar plants, which we are already ideally set up for today”, says Peter Thiele. Sharp has 50 years of experience in solar technology to look back on and is the driving international force for the intensive and environmentally friendly use of photovoltaics.

Sharp has been the first manufacturer of microamorphous thin-film modules since 2005 and was the third-largest player on the worldwide market in 2009. This makes Sharp the photovoltaics company with the highest turnover in the world in business year 2009. Having increased its turnover by nearly 33 percent to US$ 2.214 billion, Sharp leads the worldwide industry.

For 50 years, Sharp has been a driving force behind the use of photovoltaics and has made key contributions to the development of the European solar market. The solar pioneer produces solar cells at the Japanese Katsuragi works in Nara prefecture, and since 2010 in Sakai, Osaka prefecture.

Solar modules are manufactured from these cells in five factories worldwide. In addition to three production facilities in Japan and one in Tennessee/USA, solar power modules for the European market have been produced in Wrexham/Wales, UK since 2004. Sharp also purchases glass and silicon in Europe for cell and module production and works together with partners on the installation of solar power systems. Sharp has produced solar cells to date with total capacities far exceeding 2.5 gigawatts, making it the world’s largest photovoltaics manufacturer.

With its global environment strategy, Sharp has made environmental protection an integral part of its corporate culture. What we call the Sharp Super Green Strategy covers the production of energy-saving and energy-generating products in ecologically advanced plants, along with responsible recycling.

One of the company’s main aims on the road to becoming an "environmentally advanced company" is to significantly reduce both direct and indirect CO² emissions in our operations and products. Throughout the world, Sharp has defined environmental standards that apply to all our plants and products, and these are being continuously revised and dynamically improved.