Founded in 1912 the Sharp Corporation has become a world leader in the design and manufacture of consumer electronics, now employing a global workforce of around 56,000 staff. Forty-seven years after the Japanese corporation’s establishment, Sharp turned its attention to the development of solar technology and began the mass production of solar cells in 1963.
In the decades that have followed Sharp has distinguished itself as an innovator in photovoltaic solar panel technology, leading the way in the development of solar cells with record-breaking efficiency ratings, and breaking new ground with the invention of illuminating solar panels and the integration of new solar technology with mobile devices.
Sharp produces thin-film, mono- and polycrystalline PV solar panels for the European domestic and commercial markets. Sharp’s state-of-the-art production facility in Wrexham in the United Kingdom has been manufacturing high quality PV solar panels since 2004.
The quality, availability and cost-effectiveness of Sharp’s PV solar panels make them a popular choice with UK installers and consumers, and as a result there are many Sharp accredited distributors and retailers based throughout the UK and Europe.
Sharp PV Solar Panel Quality and Performance
Every Sharp PV solar panel is subjected to rigorous optical, mechanical and electronic testing to ensure that it complies with stringent performance, efficiency and safety regulations.
The panels are constructed from toughened glass, corrosion resistant anodized aluminium, EVA plastic and weather resistant foil making them durable and reliable in the most demanding weather conditions.
Depending upon their type, intended use and technology Sharp PV solar panels have solar energy to electricity conversion efficiencies ranging from an industry standard of around 13% up to a highly creditable 14.9%.
If there is one area in which Sharp currently falls behind comparable PV solar panel manufacturers, it is in the terms and conditions of its product warranties. Sharp PV solar panels carry a two-year product guarantee as opposed to the increasingly common five-year guarantee, and a performance guarantee of ten years for a minimum power output of 90% of the panel’s rating, and twenty years for an 80% output. Whilst neither the product nor performance warranties are as reassuring as those from competitors such as Suntech or Schott, this must be offset against the easy availability and competitive pricing offered by the Sharp panels.
Sharp PV Solar Panel Ranges
Sharp produces three distinct ranges of PV solar panels. Monocrystalline panels are represented by
- Sharp’s NT product range
With a rated power output of 170w and 175w, the NT range of PV solar panels might be considered a ‘budget’ option when compared with Sharp’s other panels. Offering an industry-typical efficiency of 13.5% these panels are sufficiently versatile to be used for a range of domestic and commercial purposes for connectivity both on- and off-grid.
- Sharp’s NU product rangeIncreasing in increments of 5w, the original NU product range comprised PV solar panels with rated power outputs between 170w and 185w. Whereas the NT range featured an array of 72 125.5mm square solar cells in series, the NU range uses 48 155.5mm square cells. These panels are slightly more efficient than NT panels, with efficiencies ranging between 13.7% for the 170w NU panel and 14.1% for the 185w panel.
Sharp has recently added two new monocrystalline panels to its European NU range with rated power outputs of up to 245w and efficiencies of up to 15.2%. Featuring a new anti-reflective coating to increase the absorption of light these newer panels are even more effective in reduced light conditions.
Polycrystalline PV solar panels are represented by Sharp’s ND product range. Built and tested to the same exacting standards as their monocrystalline stable mates, the ND panels have rated power outputs from 210 – 230w with efficiencies ranging from 12.8% to 14.3%.
Indicative Sharp PV Solar Installation Costs
Using 180w panels from Sharp’s NU product range to create a domestic installation to generate 2.8kW of power would require up to 16 Sharp PV solar panels and cost in the region of £13,000 when fitted by an MCS accredited installer.