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Sharp's New CEO Optimistic about Solar Business, Sets to Go International

published: 2016-07-22 16:04

After Foxconn-Sharp alliance took place, Foxconn immediately started a series of re-organization and planned for Jeng-wu Tai to take over as the new Sharp CEO.

Although rumors had that Sharp’s solar business (Sharp solar) might be spun off because of years of loss, some recent news showed that Foxconn planned to adjust solar business’ direction and to expand to international markets.

According to Japan's Sankei Shimbun, Terry Gou has considered directly managing the two major Sharp business groups, the Panel division and the Energy division (solar business included), both of which have been in financial difficulties. Through fundamental re-building, Gou would like to assist these two business groups to transform and to re-gain profitable opportunities.

International market and smart home

Jeng-wu Tai believed that Sharp solar might still have room for growth and expansion of share in the Asian market. Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia and India are markets that Sharp can manage to develop. Taiwan, where Foxconn's headquarter locates, is also one of the target markets as well.

Hiroshi Sasaoka, President of Energy Solutions Company, Sharp was interviewed by Nikkei. Sasaoka expressed that he will strive to re-bound the division during the financial year of 2016. During the financial year of 2015, Sharp solar had lost money up to 18.4 billion Japanese yen.

Sasaoka said in the interview: “Sharp had developed zero-energy house (ZEH) and smart home solutions for many years. Solar energy is absolute necessary for ZEH and smart home. Because Foxconn would like to enter these market segments, Sharp’s solar business re-gained Gou's attention and focus.”

In the past, Sharp solar’s overseas revenues only occupied 5% of its total revenues, representing a strong reliance on the domestic market. Nonetheless, the Japan PV market has been shrinking in the past few years. Moreover, the severe competition of other major three solar companies, Kyocera, Panasonic and Mitsubishi, caused Sharp to seriously lose of money. If Sharp solar can successfully expand its overseas markets, it might receive more opportunities of making profits.

Sharp frequently launched new products with a focus of higher-efficiency

Recently, Sharp has launched new technologies and products. In the end of May, Sharp launched a triple junction cell that has 31.17% conversion efficiency. Sharp also launched a 256W residential-use BLACKSOLAR module that is consisted of 48 cells and has a conversion efficiency of 19.6%. Later, Sharp launched a ZEH-series refrigerator that is able to integrate with solar systems as well as solar-powering LED street lights.

The solar-powering LED street lights carry BLACKSOLAR modules, LEDs, batteries and charging portsfor mobile devices. These LED street lights can work independently off the grid, and they can also be used as public electricity-charging facilities. Their target market is tourism facilities. Sharp planned to start to sell this product in the end of this coming August. Each unit's price is 2.5 million Japanese Yen.

Sharp's solar-powering LED street light. From top to bottom: BLACKSOLAR PV module, LED light, charging ports (box), battery.

The products above were exhibited in PV Japan 2016 in Yokohama, Japan. In the expo, cloud batteries system and commercial-use energy integration solution were also presented. These technologies and products showed that Sharp devoted to using its high-efficiency technology as the foundation, and aimed to develop residential or commercial applications. How to successfully market these products to domestic and exporting markets will be strategic tasks for Foxconn to fulfill when Foxconn operates Sharp Solar business.

(Written by Rhea Tsao, Chief Editor of EnergyTrend. Translated by Janet Chen, translator at TrendForce Corp.)

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