It’s good news to hear that green technology is growing rapidly in our times, and that new inventions in solar power are being applied months after they had been on the engineers’ desks.
This time it’s about a new joint venture between the Japanese company Sharp and the largest Italian electricity provider, Enel. They are to close a deal in spring 2009 that is going to develop solar power plants using thin-film solar cells. Sharp is famous for their solar cells in the industry, and it seems that now they’re going to cover a brand new niche that’s just been partially captured by smaller firms.
The estimations are they are going to cover 50% of the market share for thin film solar cells in 2012. For the beginning, Sharp is going to invest at least €100 billion yen ($1.05 billion) in this business. Their plans include a third European manufacturing partner, yet unknown.
Their venture is also helped by some recent discoveries in the field of thin film solar cells of this week from the UCLA and MIT that uses a new plastic, as well as anti-reflective and reflective coatings, in the manufacturing process.
Now, some figures: their power plants are going to produce a total capacity of 189 MW by the end of 2012, and the thin film solar cells are to be produced in Italy, with an initial capacity of 480 MW per year, with plans to expand to 1 Giga Watt. Additionally, Sharp has already opened a thin film production line in their Japanese factories, boosting its capacity to 160 MW per year, from the 15 MW capacity they previously had.
It’s good to hear good news. Maybe other countries and companies will take their example and modify their grid infrastructure to also use solar power, next to coal, or nuclear plants. For the first time, real big green plans seem like a step away.