A LARGE number of jobs are set to be created at a factory following a £35 million expansion announced yesterday.

Japan’s Sharp Corporation will invest $46m – or four billion yen – at their plant in Llay which will double its capacity to produce solar cell modules.

The huge investment will add three new production lines to the existing four and will create a substantial amount of jobs.

Stephen Crewe, HR and general affairs manager of Sharp UK, said: “There will be an increase in jobs at the factory but we can’t say how many at this point.

“It depends on how many of the lines are mechanised.

“The plan is that these new exports will meet the demand in the UK. Before a lot of demand was from continental Europe.”

To meet the growing demand for solar cells the production capacity at Llay will be gradually increased, from December, from the current level of 250 mW per year to 500 mW by February 2011.

Deputy First Minster Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “This is a fantastic vote of confidence both in the workforce at Sharp, and in Wales as a location to make and develop high-tech, green products that the world needs if we are to create a sustainable economy.

“The need for continued advancement in green technology is crucial to stimulate economic growth and encourage innovation and enterprise.”

He added that he originally discussed the possible expansion at the site with senior executives of Sharp PV during a visit to Japan in 2008.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said: “Sharp’s Wrexham plant is a real success story for the town.

“It is at the forefront of carbon-cutting technologies, provides high quality, skilled jobs, and produces a much in-demand product.

“The decision to double capacity of solar cell production is a very welcome boost to the local economy – and it is also a vote of confidence from Sharp for Wrexham and its excellent workforce.

”This is very good news indeed and I am absolutely delighted.”