Honda to mass produce thin film solar cells

Posted: 17 January 2006

The Honda Honda Motor Company has announced plans to begin mass production in 2007, of an independently developed thin film solar cell composed of non-silicon compound materials, which requires 50 per cent less energy, and thus generate 50 per cent less CO2, during production compared to a conventional solar cell.

A mass production plant with annual capacity of 27.5 megawatts will be established at Honda's Kumamoto factory. The panels will be sold in a limited area, starting this year.

By using thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), Honda's next-generation solar cell has greatly reduced the energy consumed during manufacturing to approximately half the amount required by conventional crystal silicon solar cells.

The new solar cell is more environmentally-friendly by reducing the amount of CO2 even from the production stage. It has also achieved the highest level of photoelectric transfer efficiency for a thin film solar cell (almost equivalent to the conventional crystal silicon solar cell).

Honda has been using and monitoring the performance of this solar cell, since early 2005, first at the Outboard Engine Plant in Hosoe, and then also at 12 other Honda facilities and 3 overseas sites.

Achieving lower costs and higher photoelectric transfer efficiency is required in order to expand use of solar cells which will help protect the global environment.

This non-silicon thin film solar cell has been attracting significant attention as a potential solution to these challenges. The mass production of Honda's next-generation solar cell became possible with a new production process developed independently by Honda Engineering.

As the first automaker to enter into solar cell business, Honda says it will contribute to the effort to prevent global warming through production and sales of a clean energy source which does not use fossil fuels. In its vision for 2010, Honda has committed itself to take on new challenges and to develop environmentally-friendly and sustainable energy technologies.

Source: IRN/JCN