Sanyo Electric is set to increase production of solar panels with the completion of a new factory in Japan.
The plant in Shiga prefecture in western Japan will take solar cells manufactured at two of the company's other factories and combine several of them together to produce a solar module. The solar modules are then packaged to create solar panels of the type used on buildings to generate electricity.
At the end of 2007 Sanyo's two domestic plants had a solar cell production capacity of 260 megawatts per year, which matched the company's solar module production capacity, but the solar cell plants have been expanded to take production capacity to 340 megawatts by the end of this year. The new plant in Shiga will increase module production capacity to 300 megawatts and Sanyo is considering expanding two other module factories, in Hungary and Mexico, to match the greater solar cell production.
Increased interest from consumers and businesses in solar power it creating greater demand for solar panel manufacturers like Sanyo.
Earlier this year its domestic competitor, Sharp, said it plans to more than double its annual production of solar cells over the next few years from the current 710 megawatts to 1.7 gigawatts around 2010.