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Sharp to build 2-in-1 fab for LCD panels, solar cells

Posted: 02 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar wafer? LCD panel? production line? Japan fab?

Sharp Corp. has earmarked $3.2 billion for a new 10G production center for LCD panels. The company plans to use certain process steps for the production of thin-film solar wafers as well.

The plant, to be built in Sakai, Japan, will be the first 10G LCD panel fab and, at the same time, the world's largest thin-film solar cell plant, Sharp claimed in a press release.

The production site will process substrates measuring 2.850mm x 3.050mm, 60 percent larger than today's largest 8G state-of-the art LCD panel substrates. These substrates yield either six 60-inch panels or eight 50-inch panels. Capacity will be 72.000 substrates per month.

Since the first steps of the coating process are identical for solar cells and LCD panels, parts of the installation will be co-used for the production of both product groups, explained a Sharp spokesperson. Sharp earmarks a solar panel production volume of 1,000MW per year.

Construction works for the site will begin in November. Production ramp-up is scheduled for March 2010 for both LCD and solar products.

Large LCDs are a multibillion-dollar market with strong growth. Market researcher iSuppli predicts a volume of $66 billion in 2007 with a growth rate in the range of 20 percent. While no exact figures are available for the thin-film solar market, experts estimate high growth rates for this type of products as well.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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