Rising Sunlight

With oil prices heading toward $70 a barrel, the age of the solar panel is dawning at last, and electronics companies from the land of the rising sun are leading the way. Decades of money-losing research and development are finally paying off at Japanese electronics giants like Sharp, Sanyo, Mitsubishi and Kyocera, who together control about 50% of the global market. "The solar units of these companies are already real businesses, and they are only going to become larger parts of their operations," says Yuki Sugi, a Lehman Bros. analyst in Tokyo who covers Sharp and Sanyo.

Sharp,...

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