Kyocera To Double Its Solar Module Manufacturing Capacity

Company investing $250 million to upgrade equipment and plants in effort to meet global demand for solar electricity.

Kyocera Corp. announced Wednesday plans to double its annual solar module manufacturing capacity to 500 megawatts (MW) by the end of March 2011 in response to global demand.

The company has secured supply contracts with silicon producers to ensure the steady increase in production capacity. These new raw material contracts will allow Kyocera to expand capacity in its global manufacturing network for solar modules, including plants in Yohkaichi and Ise, Japan; Tijuana, Mexico; Kadan, Czech Republic; and Tianjin, China.

As part of the expansion effort, Kyocera will invest approximately $250 million in plants and equipment throughout its manufacturing operaitons.

Kyocera Mexicana, S.A. de C.V., which produces finished solar photovoltaic modules for the Americas and Australia, will increase capacity from its present 35MW to 150MW. Almost $33 million will be invested in new facilities and equipment in Mexico.

Kyocera Solar Europe s.r.o., which produces solar modules for the European market, will also increase capacity to 150MW and will also have an investment of approximately $33 million to add equipment and a new manufacturing facility.

Kyocera (Tianjin) Solar Energy Co., Ltd., which serves the Chinese market, will increase its manufacturing capacity to 90MW and almost $8.3 million will be invested for new equipment and to increase the existing production area by 50 percent.

Kyocera Corp., Ise Plant, which produces solar modules and systems for the Japanese market, will expand capacity to 110MW with an investment of about $8.3 million. In addition, Kyocera Corp., Yohkaichi Plant, which produces all of the raw solar cells used by the other four production sites for their local assembly into finished solar modules, will increase its capacity to 500MW, with an investment of nearly $165 million.

According to Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc., the operating headquarters for Kyocera’s solar energy business in the Americas and Australia, the U.S. is experiencing strong interest in and acceptance of solar electricity.

Hill said that many Americans want clean energy that can be developed into an affordable, mainstream resource. To meet this demand, Hill said that Kyocera is adding capacity to both its North American and global facilities.

Kyocera currently holds the world record for energy conversion efficiency in 15x15cm polycrystalline silicon solar cells, at 18.5 percent.

Kyocera Solar, Inc., a supplier of solar electric energy solutions, has operating headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. and regional sales centers in the U.S., Brazil and Australia. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyocera International, Inc., San Diego, the North American headquarters and holding company for Kyocera Corp., based in Kyoto, Japan.

Kyocera Corp. had net sales of almost $10 billion for the year ending March 31, 2006.