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Sharp Solar Unit Swings to Profit on Strong Japanese Demand

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Sharp Corp.’s solar business swung to a profit in the second quarter after almost doubling sales volumes on strong demand for residential and utility-scale projects in Japan.

The unit posted an operating profit of 3 billion yen ($30.5 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, the Osaka-based company said in a statement today. That compares with a 5.3 billion yen loss for the same period last year, according to its website. Revenue rose 64 percent to 83.9 billion yen while sales volumes rose 94 percent.

Sharp’s results paint a picture of increasing competition in a market that’s on track to become the world’s largest. During the first quarter, the unit posted an operating profit of 6.8 billion yen for selling 343 megawatts of solar products. In the recent quarter, Sharp sold 560 megawatts and earned less.

Japan is projected to become the world’s largest solar market, with 6.9 gigawatts to 9.4 gigawatts of capacity to be added this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The government introduced a clean-energy incentive program in July last year as it tries to ease dependence on fossil-fuel and nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The company aims to boost sales of residential systems that combine energy management and storage batteries, according to the statement. As for overseas sales, Sharp wants to expand its solution and developer businesses.

To contact the reporter on this story: 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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