Sharp Launches Mass Production of 2nd-Generation Thin-Film Solar Cells

Oct 01, 2008

Sharp Corporation has completed installation of a new 2nd-generation thin-film solar cell production line at its Katsuragi Plant (Katsuragi City, Nara Prefecture) using large-size glass substrates measuring 1,000 x 1,400 mm, equivalent to 2.7 times the area of conventional substrates (560 x 925 mm), and will begin volume production this October.

The addition of this new line expands production capacity for thin-film solar cells at the Katsuragi Plant to 160 MW annually.

Thin-film solar cells have a structure in which thin layers of silicon are deposited onto a glass substrate. This structure enables a dramatic reduction in the amount of silicon used to approximately one hundredth the amount used in conventional crystalline solar cells, and also enables simpler production processes that allow the glass substrates to be larger in size as well as lowering costs through manufacturing economies of scale.

In addition, thin-film solar cells offer superior temperature characteristics compared to crystalline solar cells in that their conversion efficiency tends not to decline at high temperatures. They generate ample amounts of electricity even in areas with high ambient air temperatures, and for this reason, demand for thin-film solar cells is skyrocketing for large-scale solar photovoltaic plants in hot climate regions like Southern Europe.

Photovoltaic modules fabricated using the 2nd-generation thin-film solar cells manufactured on this new production line feature an industry-leading 9% module conversion efficiency and high 128 W power output. Also, making the substrates larger and boosting power output means fewer modules are required for a given installation than before, making it possible to reduce the cost of installed systems. This can be expected to lower the cost of generating electricity.

These modules will first be shipped to large solar power generating plants in Europe where demand has been expanding rapidly.

Sharp has invested approximately 22 billion yen in this current production capacity increase, and is introducing this new production line capable of handling large glass substrates the same size as those to be used in a new thin-film solar cell plant slated to become operational in fiscal 2009 (at Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture; below, the “new plant”).

Sharp’s aim is to develop production technologies and accumulate know-how based on this production line and establish a production system at the new plant early on for thin-film solar cells that will achieve a module conversion efficiency of 10%, and lead to their subsequent development around the world.

Sharp will invest approximately 72 billion yen in the first phase of development at the new plant to establish a production system with an annual capacity of 480 MW.

Provided by Sharp

Explore further: Old timey car to replace NYC horse carriages shown

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

6 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

7 hours ago

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

8 hours ago

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sardion2000
not rated yet Oct 01, 2008
Wow, Sharp is far behind Nanosolar who already have prototype 1 GW production machines and are ramping up the speed even more before they go into production and shipping mode. Wish I could get my 5 star rating back, this news is meh.
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Oct 02, 2008
So what's the projected $/W?

More news stories

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...