Solar Panel Manufacturer Announces $56 Million Expansion at U.K. Plant

Facility will double company's production capacity of photovoltaic solar panels to meet growing European demand.

Sharp Manufacturing U.K. said it plans to invest $56 million (35 million pounds) in its Wrexham, Wales, solar manufacturing plant.

The expansion will create three new assembly lines, doubling the company's production capacity of photovoltaic solar panels to 500 megawatts. The company employs 750 at the site, and is planning to hire several hundred additional workers.

"As a global company, Sharp could have chosen anywhere to invest, but selected Wales because of its tech-savvy workforce and government support for business," said Geraint Jones, head of the Americas for the Welsh Assembly Government. "Sharp's location in Wales helps reach Europe's fast-growing solar panel technology market."

This month, Sharp also is launching a new renewable energy academy at its Wales facility, to train workers to install solar panels that will power homes and businesses, according to the Welsh government.

The Wales plant opened in 2004 with an annual capacity of 20 megawatts.

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