Panasonic officially announced to invest 9.5 billion yen in expanding production capacity of solar cells and modules for HIT® solar panels in two Japanese manufacturing plants. The expansion will add 150MW of annual production capacity, helping Panasonic produce over 1GW of global HIT® in fiscal year 2016.
The 9.5 billion investment will be used for expanding production lines at the Shimane Factory (Shimane SANYO Electric Co. Ltd.), which produces solar cells, and at the Shiga Factory, which make PV modules. The additional production capacity will start in, scheduled, March 2016. When being completed, Panasonic’s global HIT module production capacity will be lifted up to more than 1GW, including manufacturing facilities in Kedah, Malaysia and Osaka (Nishikinohama plant).
|The Shiga Factory.||The Shimane Factory.|
One HIT production line costs approximately 4 billion yen. Accordingly, Panasonic would purchase two HIT production lines for the two factories.
According to the previous report, Panasonic currently has around 900MW of cell production capacity globally. The 150MW of additional capacity counts about 10% of Panasonic’s capacity.
In Japan, the solar market has been growing since the introducing of feed-in tariffs. Demand from residential and non-residential rooftops rapidly grows, and is expected to continue along with the Japanese government’s supports. Likewise, rooftop markets are also boosting in other Asian countries, Europe and the United States. Panasonic’s ambitious investment targets at the stronger and stronger demands to high efficiency solar products around the globe. Its additional HIT® production capacity would help the company meet the growing global solar market, especially in the rooftop and residential segments.
Furthermore, Panasonic is working on developing its Smart Home Energy Management Systems (SMARTHEMS™) for the home market. The system integrates Panasonic’s solar generation system with its EcoCute heat-pump hot water supply systems, power storage batteries, energy-saving appliances and other products to offer comprehensive solution to homes.
The newly added HIT® production line will start operating in March 2016, and the annual production capacity will exceed 1GW in fiscal year 2016 ended in March 2017.