Sharp have announced that they may pull its solar panel business out of Europe and the United States, Wrexham being home to one of the plants.
Sharp has large financial issues, and Reuters reports that part of a plan submitted to banks to secure further loans to stay in business included sections on shrinking their solar panel business. They were also told that Sharp possibly plans to consolidate operations in Japan.
Respected industry website BusinessGreen.com reported today saying :
“The company was planning to shift its European headquarters from Germany to Wrexham, North Wales, as recently as June, but now the site looks likely to be sold after almost 30 years of operations. The Wrexham site employs around 500 people.
Sharp has previously denied it would scale back its Wrexham plant following successive cuts to solar subsidies in the UK, insisting it was committed to a site where it has invested over £26m.
A Sharp spokesman declined to comment on the grounds the company’s business rebuilding programs have not been officially decided yet.”
Japanese news service Kyodo News reports that Sharp plans to end all production and sales in Europe by March, however they were told by a company spokesman that ‘nothing had been decided’.
Wrexham’s factory opened in 1984 and started with the production of video recorders and microwave ovens. Since 2004 it has been manufacturing solar modules, replacing the video recorder production. Of all Sharp’s solar module manufacturing plants around the world, Wrexham is one of the most technically advanced. Today it assembles highly advanced monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules for use in both residential and commercial installations.
In November we reported about concerns about the future of the factory, however had brighter news in June of this year with 3000 solar panels being installed with Sharp providing specialist skills. Also in June Sharp announced they were to make Wrexham a ‘Solar Headquarters’, and last month the council announced that social housing in town were starting to get solar panels – again with help from Sharp.