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Sanyo to spend $83 mln to lift solar cell capacity

Japan's Sanyo Electric Co Ltd said it would spend ¥7.9 billion ($83 million) to boost its solar cell output capacity by 26%, as the company tries to keep pace with bigger rivals.

Sanyo, which competes with Q-Cells and Sharp Corp in solar cells, plans to expand production capacity at one of its two solar cell plants in western Japan by 90 megawatts, lifting its total capacity to 430 megawatts a year by April 2010.

That compares with Sharp's current annual production capacity of 710 megawatts. Sharp plans to expand further by starting up a new plant in Japan by March with initial capacity of 480 megawatts.

Sales of solar cells, which convert solar energy into electricity, are expected to grow rapidly as concerns over climate change prompt businesses and consumers to shift to cleaner energy sources. (Reuters)