A new mass-production process allows Kyocera to manufacture solar cells with a thickness of 180 micrometers.
Kyocera recently announced a new achievement in its solar cell manufacturing process that offers higher efficiency in the consumption of multicrystalline silicon, the essential raw material used to make photovoltaic solar cells and modules. The new mass-production process allows Kyocera to manufacture solar cells with a thickness of 180 micrometers using the latest advances in silicon ingot slicing and wafer coating. The industry’s standard mass-production methods for multicrystalline silicon solar cells yield thicknesses between 200 to 260 micrometers.
The achievement is one element of a broader strategy by Kyocera to more than double its global production capacity for solar modules within the next three years while minimizing its consumption of silicon, according to Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc. “Long-term contracts with our supplier partners assure us of sufficient silicon stocks to expand our production output from about 207 megawatts of solar modules in 2007 to a target of 500 megawatts in the year ending March 31, 2011,” said Hill.
In addition to reducing cell thickness, the company’s R&D priorities include continuous improvement in the energy conversion efficiency of its solar cells. Kyocera reported achieving a new world record of 18.5% efficiency in its multicrystalline silicon solar cells in October 2006 using a design with electrical contacts mounted on the underside of the cell. The company plans to have cells of this design in mass production by March 2010.
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