Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Rising Sunlight

"How Japan's lack of oil helped make it the world leader in solar panels."

"With oil prices heading toward $70 a barrel, the age of the solar panel is dawning at last, and electronics companies from the land of the rising sun are leading the way. Decades of money-losing research and development are finally paying off at Japanese electronics giants like Sharp, Sanyo, Mitsubishi and Kyocera, who together control about 50% of the global market. "The solar units of these companies are already real businesses, and they are only going to become larger parts of their operations," says Yuki Sugi, a Lehman Bros. analyst in Tokyo who covers Sharp and Sanyo.
Sharp, the world's market leader, sold more than $1 billion worth of solar panels last year and expects a 28% increase this year. Sanyo expects a 60% sales increase this year, and at Kyocera, solar panels account for 5% of the company's total sales and 12% of its operating profit. "Solar is a booming business," says Sharp president Katsuhiko Machida, "and it is one of our core targets for growth."
Read On at Time Asia.

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