Kyocera to Double Manufacturing Capacity for Solar Modules

Company to invest 30 billion yen (about $250 million) globally, raise annual production capacity to 500 megawatts by 2011

04/18/07

San Diego, CA – April 18, 2007 – Kyocera Corporation today announced plans to expand its annual solar module manufacturing capacity to 500 megawatts (MW) by the end of March 2011 — more than double its current annual capacity of 240MW — in response to global demand.  The company has secured supply contracts with silicon producers to ensure the steady increase in production capacity.

“For the last two years, as we endured a shortage of solar-grade silicon, Kyocera has focused on improving solar-cell quality and energy conversion efficiency,” stated Tatsumi Maeda, senior managing executive officer of Kyocera Corp. and general manager of the company’s Corporate Solar Energy Group.  “Among the world’s fully integrated suppliers that manage every stage of the process, from casting silicon ingot to engineering and supplying complete solar electric generating systems, our goal is to lead the industry in both quality and quantity.”

Kyocera currently holds the world record for energy conversion efficiency in 15x15cm polycrystalline silicon solar cells, at 18.5%.

The new raw material contracts will allow the company to expand capacity throughout its quadripartite global manufacturing network for solar modules, which includes plants in Yohkaichi and Ise, Japan;  Tijuana, Mexico;   Kadan, Czech Republic;   and Tianjin, China. Kyocera will invest an estimated 30 billion yen (about $250 million) in plants and equipment throughout this network during the course of the expansion effort.

Kyocera Mexicana, S.A. de C.V., which produces finished solar photovoltaic modules for the Americas and Australia, will increase capacity from its present 35MW to 150MW.  The production area will expand tenfold with the addition of a second two-story facility in the Tijuana Industrial Park, representing an investment of approximately 4 billion yen (about $33 million) in new facilities and equipment. The new plant is expected to be completed before the end of March 2008.

Kyocera Solar Europe s.r.o., which produces solar modules for the European market, will also increase capacity to 150MW. By the end of March 2011, Kyocera will likewise invest approximately 4 billion yen (about $33 million) at this site in the Czech Republic, adding equipment and a new manufacturing facility to double the present production area.

Kyocera (Tianjin) Solar Energy Co., Ltd., which serves the Chinese market, will increase its manufacturing capacity to 90MW by the end of March 2011. In the process, the company will invest approximately 1 billion yen (about $8.3 million) to add equipment and increase its existing production area by 50 percent.

Kyocera Corporation, Ise Plant, which produces solar modules and systems for the Japanese market, will expand capacity to 110MW with an investment of approximately 1 billion yen (about $8.3 million). In addition, Kyocera Corporation, Yohkaichi Plant, which produces all of the raw solar cells used by the other four production sites for their local assembly into finished solar modules, will increase its capacity to 500MW, with an investment of approximately 20 billion yen (about $165 million) by the end of March 2011.

”The U.S. is experiencing phenomenal public interest in, and acceptance of, solar electricity,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc., the operating headquarters for Kyocera’s solar energy business in the Americas and Australia.  “The majority of Americans want clean energy developed into an affordable, mainstream resource. Kyocera, with its 32-year commitment to this effort, is aggressively adding capacity both at our North American facilities and globally to meet this ever-increasing demand.  We are all proud to be a part of the solution to our global climate and energy crisis.”   

Increased solar energy production will help offset the negative effects of electricity generated by fossil fuels ― including carbon dioxide, a suspected contributor to global warming; nitrous oxide, which has been linked to the destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer; and sulfur dioxide, the principal contributor to acid rain.

Solar energy is Kyocera’s fastest growing business. As a measure of growth, the combined output of all Kyocera solar energy manufacturing from 1975 to 2006 totaled approximately 760 megawatts of solar modules. This result, in terms of “greenhouse gases avoided,” is equivalent to the environmental impact of approximately 220 square miles of healthy forest.1 While that achievement took 32 years to attain, Kyocera’s planned production capacity by 2011 will be comparable to giving the Earth 220 new square miles of forest about every 18 months.

As another metric, the 500-megawatt capacity would allow Kyocera to build complete 3.5-kilowatt solar electric generating systems for 142,800 new homes each year.

About Kyocera

Kyocera Solar, Inc. (http://www.kyocerasolar.com) is a world-leading supplier of environmentally sound, solar electric energy solutions. With operating headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. and regional sales centers in the U.S., Brazil and Australia, Kyocera Solar, Inc. serves thousands of customers in both developed and developing regions. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyocera International, Inc. of San Diego, the North American headquarters and holding company for Kyoto, Japan-based Kyocera Corporation.

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE: KYO / http://www.kyocera.com), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of advanced ceramics. By combining these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with other technologies, Kyocera Corporation has become a leading supplier of solar energy systems, telecommunications equipment, semiconductor packages, electronic components, laser printers, copiers and industrial ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2006, the company’s net sales totaled 1.18 trillion yen (approximately $10 billion).

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1Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Power Profile and eGrid calculations.