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Sharp will try to snap a larger share of a growing market

Sharp Corp. officials reported the company plans to increase production of thin-film silicon solar cells over the next year at a Sharp plant located in the Nara Prefecture, Japan.  The increased production is directly related to a global shortage of silicon, company officials said.  Sharp is currently the No. 1 maker of solar cells in the world.

According to reports, the thin-film cells only need 1/100 the total amount of silicon used for regular solar cells.  Solar cells traditionally convert light energy to electrical energy and have a number of uses in today's world -- often times used in locations where access to a power grid is limited or unavailable.

Even though the demand is up, Sharp first half profit is down 12.4 percent due to tighter supplies and rising costs of supplies used to make the solar cell technology.

Sharp remains the top dog of the solar cell market, but faces mounting pressure from China's Suntec Power Holdings and Germany's Q-Cells AG.  Some estimates claim the solar cell market is growing almost 30 percent per year, allowing for plenty of growth for the top players in the industry.

The company did not publicly state its total capital investment into solar cell development, but industry analysts estimate it could exceed a total of 87 milion USD.

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By CryptoQuick on 11/4/2007 4:25:39 PM , Rating: 3
A solar power plant requires several hundreds of times more materials to make a solar power plant equivalent to a nuclear one.
Solar power is also 15 times more expensive than nuclear power.
There's a better energy alternative, even to solar. It's nuclear.

By Gul Westfale on 11/4/2007 5:15:50 PM , Rating: 3
only if you define better by what's cheaper. solar cells do not produce nuclear waste, nor any other waste beyond what is wasted during the initial manufacturing process.

By daftrok on 11/4/2007 6:41:22 PM , Rating: 1
If you use hydrogen for your energy, your waste is water.

By Gul Westfale on 11/4/2007 6:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
and if we used hot air the internet would save us all.

and a 747 would fly with 2 politicians strapped to its wings.

By Oregonian2 on 11/5/2007 2:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
Only source of enough hydrogen big enough for enough energy (that doesn't need more energy to create the hydrogen than the hydrogen will provide when used) is the Sun. Getting it from the Sun might have some technology hurdles to overcome though.

By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 11/5/2007 4:55:55 PM , Rating: 2
Explain how you get the hydrogen without wasting some other form of energy.

By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 11/5/2007 4:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
But the energy required and toxic chemicals used in the process of making solar cells is quite siginifigant.

By mcnabney on 11/4/2007 10:26:17 PM , Rating: 3
Although I agree that Nuclear is cheap and efficient, the article isn't really comparing Nuclear to Solar. They are comparing Nuclear to a huge number of roof-top solar cells. Those are amazingly expensive and require lots of rare materials. They are not comparing Nuclear to real large-scale solar Reflective Collectors like are being built in the Sunbelt. Those just use polished steel mirrors to focus a few football-fields of light onto a raised tower in the center which in turn heats water, makes steam, turns a turbine. Those types of solar plants are not that expensive, however, they only work for about 10 hours a day on average.

By nah on 11/5/2007 7:24:02 AM , Rating: 3

Solar power isn't 15 time more expensive than nuclear--just follow the link--nuclear is atleast 3c--with capital costs
As I said before---how do you define expensive---at least 3-4 billion people in the Third World pay 28-45 cents/Kwhr , if you convert the light from their candles/firewood/kerosene into cents/kwh. How many third world governments are rushing to provide them with power from nuclear sources, or from any other sources,for that matter ? I don't see anyon helping Iran/Iraq with nuclear tech, no matter how safe--on the other hand, they have plenty of sunlight

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