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Honda Entering Solar Cell Market for Homes and Vehicles

18 December 2005

Cigs
Typical layout of a CIGS solar cell (Univ. Strathclyde)

Nikkei. Honda Motor is entering the market for solar cells designed for use in households and also plans to promote their use in vehicles, according to a report in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Honda is building a ¥10-billion (US$86.5-million) factory to begin mass production in fiscal 2007 of solar cells made an inexpensive thin-membrane non-silicon metal compound developed by Honda engineering. The Honda solar panels, first announced in 2002, feature a light-absorbing layer formed by a compound made of copper, indium, gallium and diselenium (CIGS).

Thin-film solar cells based on CIGS (Cu(In,Ga)Se2) absorbers are among the leading devices which are expected to lower the costs for photovoltaic energy conversion. Other companies working with CIGS cells include Shell Solar and Würth.

Early Honda CIGS module prototypes had a maximum output of 112 W at dimensions of 1,367 × 802 × 46 mm. Honda is working to improve the efficiency.

Honda’s solar cells will likely sell for some 1.5 million yen each, 20%-30% less than silicon-made cells, according to the report.

The new plant will initially have an annual capacity to produce about 30 megawatts worth of solar cells, enough for 10,000 households a year. Initially, the company aims to market them only in Japan. But it will later sell them in overseas markets, eyeing mainly North America and Europe, where demand is expected to surge in the future.

Honda is also considering a scheme that would use solar cells to power a home electrolysis unit for the production of hydrogen for vehicle refueling. Honda’s current prototype home hydrogen energy systems rely on natural gas reforming. (Earlier post.)

Hondaelectrolproto
Honda’s prototype solar-powered electrolysis unit for hydrogen generation.

Honda combined its CIGS solar cells with a Honda-developed compact electrolysis unit that uses a new Ruthenium-based catalyst in a prototype at its Torrance, California facility.

The prototype solar-powered electrolysis unit produces hydrogen at a rate of 2 normal cubic meters per hour (Nm3/hr).

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December 18, 2005 in Hydrogen, Japan, Solar | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (1)

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Honda has announced that it will enter the solar cell market in 2007. "Japan's third-biggest automaker said in a statement it would build a new factory for solar cells on the site of a car plant in Kumamoto prefecture, on the southwestern Japanese isla... [Read More]

Comments

What's the difference between a solar cell and a solar battery? Does one have integrated/attached storage capacity?

That was a sloppy pickup on my part. Corrected.

Solar photovoltaic cells can be used to *charge* batteries, but sometimes a solar cell is called a "solar battery" which, as far as I understand, is incorrect.

Electrically speaking battery should mean what it seems like, a stack/chunk of stored electricity. But generally a 'battery' can be any set of like things, eg. a battery of laws; a battery of artilliary pieces, etc.

so the context here is a battery of solar panels, not electrical storage stacks.

heck, one could have a battery of batteries. :D

Is that Yen number for 112W?

Thats 12K USD

Somethings wrong I think

112 watts/sq meter ain't bad efficiency.

The size of the panel(s) and output that would sell at that price isn't yet specified.

I wonder what sort of life expectancy these thin-film cells have. The "old-fashioned" thick cells I have on the roof now are guaranteed at 80% of rated output for 25 years. Has anyone seen similar guarantees for these thin-film cells?

Loftw,
how can you make a statement like "112 watts/sq meter ain't bad efficiency" when this article doesn't tell you what the energy input was?

GCC, any chance of some useful figures like energy conversion rates and projected retail prices?

I'll talk to the Honda people here in Detroit and see if they can direct me to the right place for the info.

実は私の以前からの親友で本記事に大変興味をもたれ
将来、インドでの生産、ビジネスの可能性があれば一度
話をお伺いしたいとのことでお会いし御話しさせていただく
機会をご検討いただけませんでしょうか??
かれは Prabhu Goelという名前で米国で事業に成功
し財産家でございます。
同時に、インド政府、米国政府には数々の寄付を行い
両国の政府とは強い関係をもってます。
内分こういう話はすぐに決まる話でございませんので
お時間を要するかとおもわれますが恐縮でございますが
とりあえずお会いできる機会を検討いただければさいわいでございます。また、私はこのようなコンサルタント業をおこなっており
普段は殆ど外出しておりますので携帯090-4423-3650までご連絡
いただければ幸いでございます。
ご検討のうえご連絡を御待ち申しあげておりますのでよろしくお願い
申しあげます。

実は私の以前からの親友で本記事に大変興味をもたれ
将来、インドでの生産、ビジネスの可能性があれば一度
話をお伺いしたいとのことでお会いし御話しさせていただく
機会をご検討いただけませんでしょうか??
かれは Prabhu Goelという名前で米国で事業に成功
し財産家でございます。
同時に、インド政府、米国政府には数々の寄付を行い
両国の政府とは強い関係をもってます。
内分こういう話はすぐに決まる話でございませんので
お時間を要するかとおもわれますが恐縮でございますが
とりあえずお会いできる機会を検討いただければさいわいでございます。また、私はこのようなコンサルタント業をおこなっており
普段は殆ど外出しておりますので携帯090-4423-3650までご連絡
いただければ幸いでございます。
ご検討のうえご連絡を御待ち申しあげておりますのでよろしくお願い
申しあげます。

Can anyone direct me to a solar training and education program. I have a BS in Environmental science and wish to pursue a MS in renewable energy/ solar, or Env. management. Anyone know any good programs, or any training where I can get some hands- on with solar?? Any help appreciated.

Dan,

the university of Delaware has an alternative energy research center affiliated with the Chemical Engineering department historically, but now with other disciplines as well, including electrical engineering. The building was recently completed as to the exterior, and has public funding of $54 million+ (which I think is absurd, but that's another matter). I think McGill University in Montreal has a good program, many others.

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John,

I'm referring to "how can you make a statement like "112 watts/sq meter ain't bad efficiency" when this article doesn't tell you what the energy input was?". It is understood that standard testing conditions is at AM 1.5 testing conditions normally used to test for cells of terrestrial application, which has incident power of 1000 w/m2. This makes their cells 11.2% efficient.

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