Will Sharp Exit the Solar Business?

Sharp Corporation may end production and sales of solar cells and modules in the U.S. and Europe by March as part of a restructuring, according to reports from Bloomberg and Reuters news.

Japan’s Sharp Corp may pull its solar panel business out of Europe and
the United States as the cash-strapped company looks for ways to
withdraw from money-losing businesses and cut costs, two sources told
Reuters.

Sharp may also sell some manufacturing plants for solar products and consolidate production.
Sharp wasn’t the source of the report and nothing has been decided, a company spokeswoman told the reporters.

The proposal to shrink the solar panel business is part of a business contingency plan the maker of Aquos televisions has submitted to banks in a bid to secure loans it needs to stay in business, the sources said on condition they were not identified. Osaka-based Sharp plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs, or about 18
percent of its workforce, and is in talks to sell plants as it tries to
return to profit.

The job cuts and sales of television factories in Mexico, China and
Malaysia, as well as U.S. solar developer Recurrent Energy LLC, were in
the plan Sharp presented to lenders Sept. 24, the people said, declining
to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Sharp, which operates a factory in the United States and another in the UK that assemble solar panel modules, is also planning to consolidate production at several sites in Japan into one site, the sources said.

Recent inventory of Sharp solar panels appear to have been reduced at major wholesale suppliers. The Sharp ND-240QCJ module is still available, although prices have been edging upward, possibly due to the limited supply. Projects that require Sharp modules should act quickly to secure the inventory. Sharp is expected to honor warranty claims into the future.

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