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Kyocera Expands Solar Module Output in China, Czech Republic

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Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Kyocera Corp., a Japanese maker of electronic components, is building a plant to make solar-power modules in the Czech Republic, as it seeks to expand production outside of Japan, President Tetsuo Kuba said.

The new plant in Kadan, with an annual capacity of 360 megawatts, is expected to be completed later this year and bring total production in the country to 560 megawatts a year, the company said today in a statement. Kyoto-based Kyocera also said it completed a second plant near Tianjin in China, increasing production capacity there to 360 megawatts.

Kyocera faces competition from lower-cost solar module producers in China, Kuba said at a press conference in Tokyo today. The company plans to win overseas market share by focusing on its technology and reputation, he said, declining to give specific sales targets.

“Solar power generation is more expensive compared with other energy so without subsidies, you can’t sell it,” Kuba said. “The market changes drastically depending on what kind of policy governments implement.”

Kyocera aims to raise annual global production to 1 gigawatt by the year ending March 2013, from 400 megawatts in 2009. The company gets about 50 percent of sales outside Japan, he said, without giving a further breakdown.

Government support for Chinese manufactures makes the country a “tough market,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean we should give up China,” he said. “There is room for us in the Chinese market even though it is a tough market.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at sbiggs3@bloomberg.net; Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

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