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Honda Soltec Begins Sales of Thin Film Solar Cells

Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda’s wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, has begun sales of thin film solar cells produced by Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., primarily in the Kanto area, Japan, through distributors which also provide solar cell installation service. Honda is the first automaker to produce and sell solar cells.

The thin film solar cell developed independently by Honda uses thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). (Earlier post.) Starting from this fall, Honda Soltec will mass produce solar cells at the new plant with annual capacity of 27.5 megawatts.

The modules have a maximum output of 125W, based on solar radiation intensity of 1kW/m2 and a module temperature of 25° Celsius. The modules are 1,417mm × 791mm × 37mm and weight 14.3 kg.

Suggested retail price, including tax, is ¥60,375 (US$496).

Comments

Henrik

$495 is a very nice price right now. The average price of a 125W PV module is about $610 see http://www.solarbuzz.com/moduleprices.htm. Problem with these copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) PVs is that these metals are increasing in value as world demand grows for PVs and other things that use them. May not be possible to produce cheap PVs using this technology in the future. I would like to know how serious this scarcity issue might be. Anybody have a web reference on this issue?

Neil

I've seen some analysis that indicated that all of these thin cell technologies together that use rare elements could get us a couple of terawatts. I suspect the price will go up and these will only be used for applications where price is less important than weight. I should get my hands on some now.

mahonj

Am I missing something or did they say that the factory can produce 27.5 MW of cells / year ?

This is about the same as 7 large (4MW) windmills.

The factory wold have to operate for about 35 years to produce a GW of cells. You are hardly going to save the planet this way.

Nice for those who get them, but not very scalable.

argod

Scarcity of elements was recently covered by New Scientist. This
blog gives the summary of that article.
http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2007/06/selling-off-family-silver-platinum-etc.html

Henrik

Thank you for the information. I see indium is very scarce and may be depleted in 5 to 10 years at current reserves and current consumption. The price will go up and it will pay to extract it from less economic minerals. It is needed for LCDs so I am sure they will figure something out.

Found out that PV cells can be made from many other and less scarce materials so there is still hope that their price will continue to drop see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratzel_cell.

argod

No I think the figure is 13 years at current consumption and discovery.

If a new technology is implemented then the 5-10 years is estimated.

for example platinum is 360 years but if 150 million fuel cell vehicles are
put in the world that figure goes down to 15 years.

As far as solar cells are concerned, I think some research is looking into carbon nanotubes.

Curtis

Nanosolar is building a 400MW CIGS plant. What is that going to do to the price of PV panels and the cost of materials?

Henrik

Argod you are right and I read it wrongly.

argod

I went back and looked at the magazine article again.
It also gives a figure of 4 years if
the world consumes at 1/2 the rate of american consumption.
The other part that not a lot of american have picked up on it this
"US currently imports 90% of its "rare earth" metals from China."

Would america invade China to get its elements.

Lawrence Hill

"US currently imports 90% of its "rare earth" metals from China."

Would america invade China to get its elements.

No. America would find a smaller, weaker country to invade to get it's elements.

Paul L. Roberts

We have lots of rare earths. We are just not mining it at the present time. Cheeper to buy from China but what isn't? Our one plant on the California state line between Las Vegas and Baker was closed down about three years ago. Could be reopened if needed.I have claims in northen Arizona that is loaded with rare earths.

John

Does anyone know whether or not these panels are available in the US?

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