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. It will be used to produce multicrystalline silicon solar cells. Kyocera adds that in order to meet expanding global demand, it is ramping up its annual production to 600 megawatts (MW) this fiscal year; an increase of 50 percent over the previous fiscal year.
The company says the new Yasu Plant will produce solar cells with a 16.9 percent energy conversion efficiency. In tandem with the company’s existing Shiga Yohkaichi Plant, also located in Japan, it will help to contribute to its one gigawatt annual production target, which it hopes to reach by March 2013.
In recent years, the solar energy market has been steadily expanding, and global demand is increasing, says the company in a statement. 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.