OSAKA – Sharp Corp. is set to terminate solar panel production in the United States at the end of March because global competition is making the business unprofitable, company sources said Thursday.
The move is aimed at strengthening its domestic operations, the sources said.
The struggling electronics maker will cease solar panel production at its Tennessee plant and reduce its payroll by seeking voluntary early retirements.
The U.S. plant, which will continue to make solar panels, microwave ovens and printer toner, started producing the panels in 2003, the sources said. About 300 people in its 450-strong workforce are engaged in the solar panel division, they said.
After shutting down the Tennessee operation, Sharp will have only two solar panel production bases— in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, and its Italian joint venture, 3 Sun.
Sharp also plans to sell U.S.-based megasolar subsidiary Recurrent Energy LLC and shut down solar panel production in Britain at the end of February.
Harsh price competition with rivals, especially Chinese makers, has been hurting Sharp’s profitability in the solar power business.