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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 rodrigu3 on 11/4/2007 10:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear waste isn't a problem with today's methods and 1 nuclear plant can produce more energy than lots of solar plants - the comparison isn't even worth mentioning. Solar power is more for residents who are far away from a power source and are required to run their own power.

RE: nuclear
By StevoLincolnite on 11/4/07, Rating: -1
RE: nuclear
By KristopherKubicki on 11/4/2007 11:26:09 PM , Rating: 5
Chernobyl, the worst nuclear powerplant disaster in history attributed to 56 deaths by the WHO (47 of which were cleanup workers), versus the 563 deaths per year attributed to the pollution from the coal powered plants in just Pittsburg.

While solar might be a good alternative for those who can afford it, it seems like maybe we're better off modifying the existing grid first.

RE: nuclear
By Gul Westfale on 11/5/2007 12:16:20 AM , Rating: 2
only 57? yes, bu those were the people that died immediately during and after the accidents. it's a bit more complicated than that:

RE: nuclear
By KristopherKubicki on 11/5/2007 12:41:34 AM , Rating: 4
Consider though a worst case scenario in one hand, versus condemning 23,000 Americans per year in the other.

Even if you take every victim of nuclear power production disaster in history, and I bet the number is still fewer than can directly be attributed to one coal facility in Northern Illinois.

If we can't justify the cost of switching these nuclear facilities to zero emission coal or nuclear, what makes anyone think we'll switch over to a grid that costs 15 times more than either option. Even with economies of scale on these solar panels, you still have to figure areas like Northern Illinois still need non-renewable sources of energy due to the lack of sunlight, wind, hydro, etc.

RE: nuclear
By StevoLincolnite on 11/5/2007 6:34:46 AM , Rating: 2
I would rather it not happen in the first place.
Our Town in South Australia has a large wind farm, and is one of the windiest places on earth.
Even if there was a very slight breeze, the wind turbines would still turn. - Its usually not a lack of wind that stops wind turbines, its usually too much wind, and they have to gear them down or in a bad situation (Which happens frequently here) Shut them off completely, and tie a Wind Turbine Blade down in order to keep it shut off.

Australia doesn't have any Nuclear Power plants, You are right about the coal vs Nuclear argument, but Nuclear Disasters occur allot longer and is -more- devastating than Coal, It can take generations for a Nuclear Disaster to recover, and people and the environment from the Chernobyl incident are still paying for it.

I think, Wind+Solar+Clean Coal or Maybe even a Gas might be a better alternative - Or using the earths heat as another Source. (Forgot what its called exactly, mental blank).

Or make some big Gigantic Battery's to store energy, during Off-Peak times in order to stop wasted energy production perhaps?

Personally I am against Conventional Coal and Nuclear power generation.

RE: nuclear
By lumbergeek on 11/5/2007 11:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
Filling in the blank, you're talking about Geo-Thermal energy. I for one am a strong proponent of it. Especially in areas where the earth's crust is thinner, water injection with a steam output driving turbines seems like a good solution. Of course, one has to watch for such things as seismic shifts cutting injection shafts, but surely if we can build a laboratory in space, we can drill a big hole!

RE: nuclear
By TechIsGr8 on 11/5/2007 11:42:17 AM , Rating: 1
Nuclear waste isn't a problem with today's methods and 1 nuclear plant can produce more energy than lots of solar plants - the comparison isn't even worth mentioning. Solar power is more for residents who are far away from a power source and are required to run their own power.

So can we store the spent nuclear fuel in your back yard, rodrigu3? I mean, since nuclear waste is "not a problem", I don't imagine you'd have a problem with that.

RE: nuclear
By Oregonian2 on 11/5/2007 2:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
It's supposedly decided to be in my mother's back yard (Nevada). Someday.

"Plastic" Surgery...
By daftrok on 11/4/07, Rating: 0
RE: "Plastic" Surgery...
By DOSGuy on 11/4/2007 2:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
That would be silicone. Silicon breast implants aren't such a bad idea, though. I assume those are USB ports in the middle?

RE: "Plastic" Surgery...
By Jedi2155 on 11/4/2007 4:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
If that was case I would like to see their "flash" drives haha.

Boy that was bad.

RE: "Plastic" Surgery...
By Gul Westfale on 11/4/2007 5:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
wouldn't they be all hard?

i should stop now but for some reason can't...
do they require fans?
what happens when a die is defective? do they sell it to not-so-succesful pornstars at a discount, or do they just call it a single-core?...
would bras be rated in how many transistors they can hold?
would trophy wives become more expensive, because more transistors=more energy usage?
would hollywood bimbos start reading "international semiconductor monthly" along with their fashion mags?

ok now i must stop. must look up some hollywood bimbos on this here interwebz...

Solar power
By AlphaVirus on 11/5/2007 12:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
I grow tired of the argument that solar power is "much more expensive" and yes I can agree that nuclear is more efficient.

Lets not think about today and think long-term, if you build multiple solar farms it will have a high start up cost but it would be an investment. How much does it cost to maintain? How much waste does it create? How much man power does it take to run? All this compared to current methods seem pretty reasonable enough to outweight the cost factor.

It may not be enough to power a large city such as LA, NY or Houston but I am sure you could power plenty of small cities in the midwest where the solar heat/rays are virtually abundant.

With multiple solar farms handling the smaller cities, large plants can focus there power and money can be invested to make these lines more efficient.

RE: Solar power
By murphyslabrat on 11/5/2007 1:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
No, the problem is maintenance. What happens to the panels that become unusable due to sheer loss of cells? What do you do with them? How do you acquire the massive amounts of real-estate to run the quantities of solar farms you would need? It is not cheap now, it is not cheap in the long-term, and it is woefully insufficient for the role of a primary power-source.

We can check periodically as it progresses, and we can pay an inflated rate for power to have "renewable energy only" sent to your home (which is a great scheme, as who can tell the difference in energy from renewable sources ^^j). Otherwise, it's only for those without an alternative or for those bastards who don't want me running my quadFire HD2900XT's ^^j.

BTW, no one in their right minds would run a quad Crossfire setup with four HD2900XT's, unless you have a really good power-supply, a flat-rate energy fee, and studio-quality sound-canceling headphones (preferably running above 90db, as that will help you cope with the noise while you're not using it ^^j)

Nothing against AMD, it's just that the HD 2900 is gonna be remembered as "noisy", perhaps more so than "late".

RE: Solar power
By murphyslabrat on 11/5/2007 1:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
BTW, sorry about the double post, but I realize that there is currently no driver support for quad Crossfire. It was for the sake of the joke.

It would be cool if you could "edit" a post, though it be more a comment attached to a post. So, allow you to append a note that is separated from the main body by a "edited - <mm/dd/yy hh:mm>." That would make posts like this unnecessary, without letting people go back and alter their stupidity.

Basicly, you would assist the absent minded without helping the idiots; which, I assume, is the reason for not including an "edit" option, correct?

By kontorotsui on 11/4/2007 12:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
What about price? Isn't thin film much more expensive?

RE: Price?
By soydios on 11/4/2007 12:32:57 PM , Rating: 3
If the savings of using less silicon outweigh the added costs of thin-film substrates, then it makes sense to do it that way.

Solar Concentrators
By Felofasofa on 11/4/2007 6:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why more people and Governments aren't talking about about Solar Concentrators, they are cheap and make use of the Suns heat as well as light.

By JonnyDough on 11/4/07, Rating: -1
By saratoga on 11/4/2007 3:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Thats silly. At very least wind is a better choice right now, since its much easier and cheaper to harvest. Solar cells are expensive, inefficient, and require large amounts of energy to make. Its not clear if PV cells will ever be used for large scale generation.

By Ringold on 11/4/2007 4:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
And nuclear or clean-coal tech, thats just for monkeys.

By thebrown13 on 11/4/2007 5:13:29 PM , Rating: 1
Clean coal is an oxymoron.

By KristopherKubicki on 11/4/2007 11:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think the term now is zero-emission coal

By Oregonian2 on 11/5/2007 2:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't even emit CARBON dioxide?

By murphyslabrat on 11/5/2007 1:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
Kinda like "Windows Security"

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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