Currently, global solar cell manufacturing companies are mainly concentrated in Japan, Germany and the United States. At the beginning of this century, Japanese companies accounted for about half of the world’s solar cell output. But in 2005, Japan was overtaken by Germany and Tong, losing its position as the world’s largest producer of solar cells.
There are many manufacturers of solar power generation equipment in Japan, such as Sharp, Kyocera, and Sanyo Electric. It is said that in 2007, the power generation of solar power generation equipment produced by Japanese manufacturers accounted for about 25% of the total solar power generation in the world, and the market share ranked first in the world.
Sharp Electronics Corporation of Japan and Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group, a subsidiary of Sharp Corporation of the United States, are the world’s largest solar photovoltaic manufacturers.
Sharp launched a new environmentally friendly concept solar TV in August 2008. Sharp said that the energy provided by a solar panel is now enough for the LCD TV to use for 4 to 5 hours. If you use such a TV, you can watch 4~5 hours of TV programs every day without electricity. In addition to being the world’s largest flat-panel TV manufacturer, Sharp is also one of the world’s strongest solar panel power generation technology manufacturers. It has launched a multi-type solar panel that can generate 200kW.h per year. Japanese households spend an average of 4.5 hours watching TV every day. If you watch TV for 4.5 hours a day, the power generated by this multi-type battery panel is enough to meet the power demand for normal use of Sharp’s newly launched 52-inch LC-52XS1E LCD TV. Sharp said that Sharp does not recommend that home users buy a solar panel to power the TV, but instead recommends that they spread solar panels on the roof to meet all household electricity needs.
Sharp invested 663 million US dollars to build a new solar panel production plant in Japan. By 2010, the production plant can be built for mass production and can produce 480MW of solar panels every year. Coupled with the expansion of other production plants, Sharp’s annual solar panel production capacity will reach more than 1,000MW in the next two years.
Sharp released its latest solar cell module LROGC02 in June 2009. It is specially developed for mobile devices. The thickness is only 0.8mm. It is the thinnest solar panel in the industry (Figure 1). LROGC02 uses semiconductor packaging technology to compress the thickness to 0.8mm, the solar cell that composes the module is based on polysilicon, which can achieve a maximum output power of 300MW, and can be used for 1 minute of uninterrupted calls every 10 minutes of charging, which can effectively save energy as an auxiliary power source for mobile devices. Sharp will mass-produce this module from July 10th, with a monthly mass production of 100,000 units at a unit price of 3,000 yen.
Sharp announced on September 10, 2009 that the efficiency of its amorphous silicon thin-film battery (Figure 2) has risen to 12%, which is a huge leap in the conversion efficiency of a-Si thin-film batteries. The new large-scale plant will begin mass production of a-Si thin-film batteries with double junction technology in 2011. Sharp pointed out that the current thin-film module has a conversion efficiency of only 8.5%, and Sharp plans to enter mass production of a new 10% conversion efficiency thin-film battery at the end of 2009. This will mean that Sharp has the highest a Si cell efficiency and widens the gap in the efficiency of thin-film solar cells. By the end of 2009, the conversion efficiency of Cd Te cells reached 11%. According to Sharp’s research, other a-Si film manufacturers have battery efficiency of only 6% to 7%.
Sharp Corporation, Italy’s Ene1 Green Power Company (EGP) and ST Microelectronics (STM) announced on January 6, 2010 that they would form a joint venture for the production of thin-film solar cells. Sharp, EGP and STM plan to use STM’s existing factory in Catania, Italy in 2011 to start producing thin-film solar cells. The annual production capacity of the thin-film solar cell factory was 160MW at the initial stage of construction, and it is planned to expand to an annual production capacity of 480MW in the future. The thin-film solar cells produced by the plant will be sold to Europe and the underground sea area through the sales network of Sharp and EGP. The two companies will also establish solar power generation facilities to increase the power generation capacity of more than 500MW by the end of December 2016.
Japan’s Toshiba Corporation announced that it began to enter the field of solar power generation in mid-July 2008, and strives to obtain a 10% domestic share by 2010. Toshiba will purchase battery components from the US Solar Power Company (Sun Power) and assemble them into residential solar power generation equipment together with its self-developed transformer. Solar Power Company is the eighth largest solar cell manufacturer in the world, and the power generation efficiency of its solar cells has reached 21.5%, the highest level in the world. Compared with traditional transformers, Toshiba’s self-developed transformer devices can reduce power loss by about one-third. Through the above measures, Toshiba was able to reduce the footprint of its solar power generation equipment by 30% and the weight by 25%. At present, most of the domestic solar market in Japan has been occupied by Sharp, Sanyo Electric, Kyocera and Mitsubishi Electric. . However, as the price of oil rises and the price of electricity continues to rise, there is a lot of room for further expansion of the solar cell market. Toshiba predicts that even if it enters the market now, there is still room for development. It will strive to make its solar power generation business reach a scale of 20 billion yen by 2010.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. stated on August 5, 2008 that it plans to increase its solar cell production by more than 10 times before 2020, reaching 4000MW per year, thus occupying 10% of the global market. In 2007, Sanyo Co. accounted for the global solar cell market. The share is 4.4%. In fiscal year 2007 (until March 2008), Sanyo Electric’s solar cell output reached 260MW. Sanyo stated that it plans to invest 70 billion yen (approximately US$739 million) in the solar business in the next three years to increase annual output. Reach 650MW.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. announced on February 12, 2009 the construction of a solar cell production plant in Dayi, and the construction of a solar cell production plant in Kaizuka, Daban County, was completed in the second half of 2010. The plant produces HIT solar cells from Sanyo Electric Co., which are said to have higher photoelectric conversion efficiency than conventional solar cells. Sanyo Electric’s annual production capacity of HIT solar cells reached a total of 6×105kW after the plant was put into production.
Sanyo announced on November 4, 2009 that the photovoltaic product production facility in the Salem Energy and Technology Park in the United States was put into production. Located in Salem, Oregon, USA, the device will produce silicon bonds and silicon wafers, which are the core materials for manufacturing Sanyo’s patented HIT (hybrid junction type with inner thin layer) solar cells and modules. Preliminary production has started, and the device plans to reach an annual production capacity of 70MW by April 2010.
Sanyo announced on November 5, 2009 that its production plant in Monterrey, Mexico has begun production of the company’s new Oregon solar cell modules. The plant is located in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, using Sanyo’s patented HIT solar module technology for production. The plant has a production capacity of 50MW, and the assembled solar panels are used in solar facilities in North America, including the United States. The Monterrey production plant in Mexico is the company’s first overseas module assembly plant in terms of its solar business. The assembly of the world’s highest photoelectric conversion efficiency HIT module will make an important contribution to the growth of the company’s North American business.
At the end of August 2008, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced the construction of a new solar photovoltaic cell factory in Nakatsugawa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The plant covers an area of 2.4×104m2 and was completed in December 2009. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation plans to invest 50 billion yen (4.5674). Billion US dollars) to triple the annual production capacity of photovoltaic cells/modules, from 150MW now to 600MW in fiscal year 2012.
Japan’s Kyocera, which has been developing solar cell technology for 33 years, announced in mid-November 2008 that it will build a 350MW solar cell production plant. The new plant is located in Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. It has become the largest solar cell production plant of Beijing Sign Corporation in Japan. Construction began in early 2009, completed at the end of the year, and started production in the spring of 2010. Together with Kyocera’s current plant in Yokkaichi, the new plant will enable the company to more than double its annual output to 650MW by March 2012 on the basis of 300MW of solar cell output in 2008.
The new plant will produce new back-contact batteries with a photoelectric conversion efficiency of 18.5%. Kyocera announced on December 18, 2008 that it would donate a solar power generation system to a Nepalese middle school. The donation includes a 600kW solar power system, including storage batteries. Kyocera Corporation will donate to 3 schools to provide and set up the system every year for the next 5 years, starting from 2009 in total 15 schools.
Kyocera will provide 3MW photovoltaic modules for the Omuta Solar Power Plant in Kyushu, Japan, which is developed by Kyushu Electric Power Company. Scheduled to be put into operation in November 2010, the Omuta solar power plant will be one of the largest MW-level solar power plants in southern Kyushu. The annual power generation capacity of the project will be 3200MW.h.
Kyocera announced on March 4, 2010 that it will build a new solar cell production plant, so that the company’s production capacity can meet the growing global demand, which will contribute to the company’s photovoltaic cell production capacity of 1GW by 2013.
As of February 2009, Japan has 11 companies manufacturing PV cells/modules, namely Sharp (Sharp), Kyocera (Kyocera), Sanyo Electric (Sanyo Electric), Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO. Mitsubishi Electric), Kane ka ( Kaneka), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), Space Energy, Fuji Electric Systems, Honda Motor, Showa Shell Sekiyu and Clean Venture21.
Some of these companies are the world’s largest PV producers, covering technical fields. For example, Hitachi (Hitachi) sold its dual-meter silicon-based PV modules to Space Energy. Fuji Electric Systems manufactures flexible amorphous silicon (a-Si) modules, while Honda Motor and Showa Shell Sekiyu manufacture copper-steel selenium (CIGS) modules. Clean Venture21 plans to Production of spherical i modules. Honda Motor Company formed Honda So1tec, which has begun to produce photovoltaic modules at its Kumamoto plant, while Showa Shell Petroleum Corporation began to produce photovoltaic modules at its 20MW/a plant in Miyazaki Prefecture.