Germany: Energy providers have invested in Sharp solar power plants


The two projects were undertaken in cooperation with EnBW Erneuerbare Energien GmbH on the one hand, and the Pfalzwerke Aktiengesellschaft through the partner Eurosol on the other. With an investment sum of around €6 million last year, both megawatt projects look like they will yield good results.

Sharp says its silicon-based thin film technology is a central success factor for the profitability of photovoltaics. The company adds that its 50 years of experience in the solar market, makess it the ideal partner when it comes to secure investment in profitable large-scale solar projects.

EnBW entered into the solar energy market as an investor with the Leibertingen solar park in Baden Wu?rttemberg and has since made use of Sharp's solar technology in the process. The same goes for Pfalzwerke Aktiengesellschaft, with its photovoltaic plant in Höheinöd, Rhineland-Palatinate, built last year.

“Together with our partners, we could realise a showcase project which will act as a beacon even beyond the boundaries of the regions,” says Peter Thiele, executive vice president of Sharp Energy Solution Europe. “Both solar power plants clearly demonstrate how cost-effective photovoltaics can be, especially the thin film technology. They make it clear that photovoltaics is a secure, profitable and environmentally friendly energy technology, thus making it a lucrative future model for energy providers.”

Roughly 17,000 Sharp thin film modules produce environmentally friendly electricity in each of the solar power plants. With an anticipated 2.1 million kilowatt hours of solar energy, each plant can supply 600 households annually and save 1,200 tons of CO2.

Ideal technology for large-scale solar projects

Sharp's second-generation microamorphous thin film modules are used in both power plants: the 1.42 square metre silicon-based modules generate a high yield and are well-suited to sophisticated system designs thanks to their low output voltage of 60 volts. “We put the world’s largest thin film cell factory online in March 2010 in Sakai, thus increasing our production capacity to its current 870megawatts,” explains Mr. Thiele.

The technology enterprise also produces LCD panels in addition to solar cells here. The similar production processes secure important competitive advantages for Sharp: "In Sakai, we can produce the raw material-saving thin film modules highly efficiently and cost-consciously,” he continues.

In the future, Sharp intends to produce thin film cells in Sakai in a microamorphous triple-junction structure and expand the production capacity to up to 1,000 megawatts.

A strong partner in a worldwide growing market

On the whole, renewable energies are increasingly gaining importance due to the rising demand for energy worldwide with a simultaneous shortage in fossil fuel resources. “For that reason, we see an immense future market in the field of large-scale solar plants, which we are already ideally set up for today,” concludes Mr. Thiele.

Sharp has 50 years of experience in solar technology to look back on and is the driving international force for the intensive and environmentally friendly use of photovoltaics. It has been the first manufacturer of microamorphous thin film modules since 2005 and was the third-largest player on the worldwide market in 2009. This makes Sharp the photovoltaics company with the highest turnover in the world in business year 2009. Having increased its turnover by nearly 33 percent to USD$2.214 billion, Sharp leads the worldwide industry.