Japan's Sanyo Electric Co Ltd said on Tuesday it plans to more than quadruple its solar cell production capacity to 1,500 megawatts by 2015 to become one of the world's top three solar cell makers.

Solar cells and rechargeable batteries, which power hybrid and electric vehicles as well as PCs and mobile phones, are the two main pillars of growth for Sanyo as demand for cleaner and renewable energy increases.

Sanyo did not give the size of capital expenditure for the expansion project, but said the targeted capacity of 1,500 megawatts will likely account for 10 percent of global demand.

In the shorter term, Sanyo, which has earmarked 70 billion yen ($786 million) for its solar business for the three-year period from April 2008, plans to boost its solar cell production capacity by 66 percent to 565 megawatts by March 2011.

Sanyo, which is set to be acquired by Panasonic Corp by the end of the year, was the 11th-biggest solar producer in 2008 behind larger rivals such as Q-Cells and Sharp Corp.

Sanyo shares were down 3.0 percent at 164 yen, underperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index .IELEC.T, which lost 0.9 percent.

(Reporting by Yumi Horie, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)