Kyocera to Start Production at New Solar Cell Plant

August 10, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Kyocera Corp. announced that it will begin full-scale production at its new Yasu solar cell manufacturing facility in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The new plant, which was completed in March of this year and has already finished production line testing, is the largest of the company’s domestic manufacturing facilities, and will be producing the company’s highly-efficient multicrystalline silicon solar cells.

The new Yasu Plant employs an enhanced manufacturing line, and will produce solar cells with a 16.9% energy conversion efficiency – said by the company to be one of the world’s highest for mass-produced multicrystalline cells. In tandem with the company’s existing Shiga Yohkaichi Plant (Japan), the new plant will contribute to meeting Kyocera’s annual production target of 1GW of solar cells by March 2013.

In recent years, the solar energy market has been steadily expanding, and global demand is increasing. In Japan, the residential-use solar market has been expanding due to the reintroduction last year of government subsidies and a doubling in the purchase price for surplus solar-generated power. In the U.S., governmental subsidies and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) programs are spurring demand, and future growth of the market is expected. In Europe, despite a decrease in feed-in-tariff rates in Germany in July, the German market is still experiencing high-growth. In addition, countries like France and Italy are emerging and are expected to help drive global demand.

In order to meet expanding global demand, Kyocera is ramping up its annual production to 600MW this fiscal year – an increase of 50% over the previous fiscal year. Furthermore, by concentrating on product quality, the company is working to decrease the cost of solar energy by improving cell conversion efficiency and enhancing the company’s own productivity.