This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 20, 2002

Japanese Solar Cell Firm to Build Plant in Memphis, Tennessee

Anticipating a growing U.S. market for solar power systems, the Sharp Electronics Corporation announced plans last week to build a manufacturing plant for solar products in Memphis, Tennessee. Sharp Electronics is the U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corporation, the world leader in solar-cell manufacturing. The Memphis facility is expected to begin production in spring of 2003. By the end of next year, 90 new jobs will be created at the facility, which will assemble solar modules for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

Sharp's solar-cell production capacity is expected to reach 200 megawatts per year by March 2003. Although the company entered the U.S. market less than six months ago, it hopes to capture 10 percent of the domestic solar-cell market by March. See the Sharp press release.

A growing number of recent solar power installations in the United States seems to support Sharp's conclusion that the U.S. market is growing. Among recent U.S. solar installations are a new 108-kilowatt system on the roof of a Whole Foods Market store in Woodland Hills, California, supported by the Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADWP) Solar Incentive Program; and two 30-kilowatt solar power systems installed by SunWize Technologies in Florence, Alabama, and Oxford, Mississippi, for the Tennessee Valley Authority's Green Power Switch Program. In addition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced last week that 50 schools throughout the state will receive funding for the installation of 2-kilowatt solar power systems. The grants were awarded as part of NYSERDA's $1.8-million "School Power...Naturally" program. See the press releases from LADWP, SunWize, and NYSERDA.