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Sharp History

1963 : Mass Production of Solar Cells

The First Step in Sharp Optoelectronics

Early Leaders in Solar Power

A solar battery directly converts energy from the sun into electricity. It is, in a sense, a silicon-based semiconductor that can generate electricity. Sharp pioneered solar power research in 1959 and successfully mass-produced the first solar cells in 1963. Today, confronted by global environmental problems, solar power is increasingly looked to as a key source of "clean energy" for the 21st century. As a leading manufacturer of solar cells, Sharp's advanced technology in this field is highly acclaimed both in Japan and elsewhere. It has also provided the base for development of Sharp optoelectronics.

Used in Every Walk of Life and in Space

Sharp's engineers began their research by focusing on developing marketable applications for solar cells. This led to use of Sharp solar cells in the No. 1 Tsurumi light buoy in bustling Yokohama Port. Today, 500 automated lighthouses in Japan use these labor- and energy-saving devices.

In addition to improving sea navigation, solar cells are also used in such diverse applications as weather stations and artificial satellites, and as power sources in remote areas.

Electronic Medical Equipment

At about the time research was begun into solar cells, progress was also being made in health care technology. A number of new products were developed, including an X-ray monitor, an ultrasonic cleaning system, multi-phenomenon monitoring and recording system, a system to automatically monitor body functions, a portable electric scalpel, and a portable electrocardiograph. These innovations have brought about improved health care for people.

A New Divisional Structure

In 1963, the company was reorganized into three divisions for radio, home appliances and industrial equipment. A new service company was also established [the predecessor of today's SEK (Sharp Engineering Corporation)].

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