Sanyo Announces Plans to Triple Size of Solar Business by 2010

June 21, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. announced a comprehensive business expansion strategy in answer to the expanding photovoltaic market and by which the company intends to attain the world's top position in the solar business.

Sanyo will invest 10 billion yen in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 and a total of 40 billion yen or more in HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer) solar cells by FY 2010. In FY 2007, the company will increase solar cell production capacity by 100MW at the Osaka, Nishikinohama factory to a total of 210MW. Sanyo's overall solar cell production capacity will increase to 260MW in FY 2007, by combining the solar cell production capacity at Shimane Sanyo Industrial Co., Ltd.

Along with increased production capacity, Sanyo will strengthen photovoltaic products and further increase product differentiation by raising its HIT solar cell conversion efficiency. The company plans to increase solar cell conversion efficiency above 22%. Sanyo will make thinner wafers to deal with the silicon material problem and at the same time increase solar cell conversion efficiency. In normal conditions making thinner multi-crystal silicon solar cells decreases efficiency but the company plans by FY 2010, to have wafers thinner than 150 micrometers and cell conversion efficiency higher than 22%, thus further differentiating its products.

Sanyo will add a new type HIT solar cell that uses multi-crystal silicon-based wafers to meet a wide range of customer needs. The company has previously used single-crystal silicon wafers but now will also use multi-crystal silicon wafers as well. In FY 2007, the company will sell multi-crystal silicon based photovoltaic modules which cells have 15%-16% cell conversion efficiency, but by 2008 will aim to sell photovoltaic modules with cell conversion efficiency higher than 18%, by building on it's hybrid technology of amorphous and crystalline. The company will expand its solar business on two pillars of multi-crystal silicon HIT solar cells and single-crystal silicon HIT solar cells.

In addition, Sanyo will look at forming a new alliance to expand procurement of silicon material which will clear any bottlenecks for business expansion. Sanyo will examine the realignment of production bases in Japan and overseas to optimize production. Such actions will further differentiate HIT products and strengthen the business foundation.