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Sharp to Sign Joint Venture Agreement for Production of Thin-Film Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Power Generation Business

Osaka, Japan - Jan 4, 2010 (PRN): Sharp Corporation, Enel Green Power(1) (hereinafter "EGP"), and ST Microelectronics(2) (hereinafter "STM") today signed a joint venture agreement for the production of thin-film solar cells. On the same day, Sharp and EGP signed a joint venture agreement for independent power producer business (IPP(3)).

After the approval of the EU Commission concerning the joint ventures for production and power generation businesses, the three companies will establish joint venture companies respectively by the end of March 2010.

Sharp, EGP and STM will first establish a joint venture company for solar cell production and then start the production of thin-film solar cells from the beginning of 2011, by utilizing the existing facility of STM in Catania Province, Sicily Region, Italy. The thin-film solar cell plant will start operation with an initial annual production capacity of 160MW, which is scheduled to be expanded to an annual production capacity of 480MW in the future. In addition to financing from the banks, this project will be funded by investments from each company of approximately 70 million euros each. The thin-film solar cells produced in this plant will be marketed mainly in Europe and the Mediterranean area through the sales networks of Sharp and EGP.

For the IPP business, Sharp and EGP will establish a joint venture company, ES Solar Farms S.r.l.(hereinafter "ESSF"). The two companies will establish power generation plants with a total power generation capacity of more than 500MW by the end of December 2016. ESSF will use the thin-film solar cells produced by the joint venture plant, and extend its power business to Mediterranean countries including Italy, France, Spain and Greece.

Thin-film solar cells are especially suitable for large scale photovoltaic power generation, especially in Mediterranean areas including Southern Europe. As compared to silicon type solar cells, the thin-film solar cells are able to maintain their conversion efficiency even in hot climates.

Through collaboration with a power company, Sharp aims to become a total solution company in the photovoltaic field, initiating the world's first business model extending from thin-film solar cell production to IPP business.



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