Sharp Corp, one of the world’s biggest makers of silicon-based solar cells, will introduce next generation thin film solar cells in the U.S. market in August next year.
The lower cost of thin film solar is seen by Sharp and its competitors as the best way to create utility-scale solar panel arrays because they can produce power cheaper than traditional photovoltaic panels.
“As the U.S. solar market grows, deployments of multi-megawatt utility projects and large-scale commercial installations are on the rise,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group.
Sharp, maker of 710,000 megawatts per year of rooftop crystalline photovoltaic panels, is joining the race to expand thin film solar cells in the United States, which has been led by First Solar Inc based in Tempe, Arizona.
First Solar can make thin film panels that turn sunlight into electricity at an rate of about 10.5 percent, compared with 9-percent efficiency of the new Sharp line.
Paul Wormser, Sharp’s director of solar product development in the United States, said the company is confident it can win going head-to-head with First Solar for what is expected to be a large U.S. market of selling thin film cells to utilities, despite the lead First Solar has in efficiency ratings.