Sharp pulls plug on solar panel production in UK

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Sharp is shutting down PV panel production operations at its factory in Wrexham, Wales.

The Japanese electronics giant confirmed the move this week, saying it would cut 250 jobs and not renew 365 agency workers’ contracts, according to the BBC.

Sharp described the move as "unavoidable," saying current market conditions had made output at the Wrexham factory "uncompetitive," the BBC reported, citing a company statement.

The plant is expected to end its solar panel production in February.

Sharp added that it was transforming its European solar business to ensure "regeneration and long-term growth."

The BBC cited a statement by Sharp Electronics Europe CEO Hiroshi Sasaoka in which he said, "It is with sincere regret that we have decided to end solar panel production in Wrexham."

"Our employees are our greatest asset, and we have been fortunate to have a loyal, hardworking and committed workforce since we began solar production here in 2004.

Sasoka added that the Wrexham facility would continue to produce microwave ovens the company was looking at additional products to produce at the site.

By contrast, Sharp’s solar cells division has performed well this year due to booming demand in Japan. The unit experienced a dramatic turnaround earlier this year after posting losses in the first three quarters of 2012.