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Sharp Aims to Return to the USA Residential Solar Market in 2017

published: 2016-09-21 16:59

Sharp has been re-adjusting many of its business directions after being taken over by Foxconn. Sharp’s solar business (Sharp Solar) will get back on the horse and is estimated to return to the USA market in 2017. It will mostly target the residential solar market.

Nikkei reported, Sharp exited the USA residential solar market in 2014 due to a severe price war. Sharp decided to sell its subsidiary, a PV system solution provider, Recurrent Energy to Canadian Solar Inc. (CSI) at the end of 2014. Currently, Sharp merely runs commercial solar business in USA.

As for strategies of how to return to the USA market, Sharp is considering extending its business model for the commercial sector to the residential sector. This business model is to sell a solar system bundling with an energy storage system. Aside from existing sales outlets in Washington State, Sharp will set additionally new sales outlets. Currently, it is considering California, where residential solar demand is greater.

To turn loss into profits in 2017, plans

Sharp's new President Jeng-wu Tai, who was appointed by Foxconn, expressed to Nikkei in early September that he would strive to turn the solar division from loss into profits by the end of 2017 financial year, aka the end of March 2018. His tangible approaches are as follows. First, expand residential systems’ and large-scale solar power plant’s businesses in overseas markets (such as the Asia and the USA markets). Another method is escalate factories' utilization rates, including the Sakai factory in Osaka.

"Sharp Solar’s branding and technical capability in PV cells definitely deserve praises,” emphasized Tai. “Our future directions are to evaluate how to expand market shares." Foxconn and Sharp Solar are appraising to develop large solar power plants in Asia as well as the feasibility of entering the China market.

Sharp Solar saw deficits of 18.4 billion yen in 2015 financial year. As for first quarter of 2016 financial year, (aka from April to June in 2016), Sharp Solar experienced a yearly revenue decline of 40.7%, dropping to 21.8 billion yen. The net loss of 6.3 billion yen was worse than the 3.9 billion yen loss from a year ago.

Sharp Solar urgently needs reformation in its management practices. Tai expressed that he has been evaluating re-build Sakai factory's buildings, in order to improve overall production efficiency.

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

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