Panasonic ready to pump $1.1 billion into solar energy business


There’s a reason why Panasonic paid $4.4 billion in this economic downturn to acquire former rival Sanyo, and the reason is that Panasonic wants to go as “green” as possible in the future. Sanyo isn’t only the world’s leading maker of lithium ion batteries, but also the (now former) company behind the eneloop brand, which consists of a range of eco-friendly solar products.

But buying Sanyo wasn’t enough for Panasonic’s solar ambitions, as the company says it’s now ready to invest another $1.1 billion by fiscal 2015 in its solar business segment. By that time, Panasonic aims at being among the world’s top three solar cell makers. The company wants to reach the top spot among Japanese makers as early as 2012.

Panasonic President Fumio Otsubo also said that his company is expecting to generate a whopping $33 billion in revenue in its energy business segment by fiscal 2018 (Panasonic’s 100th anniversary). By way of comparison: Panasonic’s total revenue in last fiscal stood at $77 billion, which means the company plans to totally change its face in the next few years.

Sharp is another Japanese powerhouse that sees its future in solar energy, but Panasonic says the future competitor to beat in this area will be Samsung.

Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]