Sharp solar division suffers 97% drop in profit

Sharp Corporation managed to significantly narrow its first-quarter net loss from JPY 17.98 billion ($175.2 million) a year ago to JPY 1.79 billion while sales rose 1.9% to JPY 619.73 billion.

The Japanese electronic giant’s photovoltaic unit, previously known as Solar Cells but now renamed Energy Solutions, was hit by a decrease in solar cell sales for residential use in Japan, which resulted in a hefty 97.3% drop in profit to JPY 183 million and an 18.1% decline in revenue to JPY 69 billion for the segment.

In an effort to boost its flagging PV operations, the company said it had undertaken a "structural reform of is solar cell business in Europe." Sharp added that it aimed to "expedite transition into an energy solutions provider offering not only solar modules and storage batteries but also design, construction and other services, thus covering a wide ranged supply chain." Among the company’s major expenses in the first three months of its financial year was a JPY 14.3 billion settlement related to its solar cell business in Europe.

In July, Sharp announced it was selling its stake in Italian thin-film module manufacturing joint venture 3Sun to Enel Green Power and paying the Italian group €95 million to take over its purchase obligations to 3Sun.