Sharp Corporation, Enel Green Power (EGP), and ST Microelectronics (STM) have signed a joint venture agreement for the production of thin-film solar cells. The three companies will establish joint venture companies respectively by the end of March 2010.
Sharp, EGP and STM will first establish a joint venture company for solar cell production and then start the production of thin-film solar cells from the beginning of 2011, using the existing facility of STM in the Catania Province of Sicily (Italy). The thin-film solar cell plant will start production with an initial annual output of 160MW, which is scheduled to be expanded to 480MW in the future.
In addition to financing from the banks, this project will be funded by investments from each company of approximately Euros 70 million each. The thin-film solar cells produced in this plant will be marketed mainly in Europe and the Mediterranean area through the sales networks of Sharp and EGP.
500 MW of solar power by 2016
Sharp has also entered into a joint venture in the independent power producer (IPP) business with EGP. The two companies will establish a joint venture company, ES Solar Farms S.r.l., and will establish power generation plants with a total power generation capacity of more than 500 MW by the end of December 2016. ES Solar Farms will use the thin-film solar cells produced by the first joint venture, and extend its power business to Mediterranean countries including Italy, France, Spain and Greece.
Thin-film solar cells are especially suitable for large-scale photovoltaic power generation, especially in Mediterranean areas including Southern Europe. As compared to silicon type solar cells, they are able to maintain their conversion efficiency even in hot climates.