View Full Version : Honda to manufacture solar cells

19th December 2005, 18:23
cool , hopefully solar cells will be used a lot more.(and be cheaper)

its cool they use nonsilicon solar cells, as the silicon one are quite messy to make.
But I can't think of what other types there are that have reasonable efficiency.?

edit to add

Thin film metal cells that have similar efficency to silicon solar cells, that is good news.

Dr Mordrid
19th December 2005, 20:00
Wonder if their tech is at least partially licensed from Energy Conversion Devices - Ovonics (a Michigan company)? ECD-Ovonics was started up by Stanley Ovshinsky; one of the pioneers of NiMH battreries, solar cells made out of flexible thin-film amorphous silicon and a metal-hydride (non-PeM) fuel cell. A freaking genius.


Dr. Mordrid

20th December 2005, 02:21
Not sure if this will make the things any cheaper - there is already massive manufacturing overcapacity in the sector...

Dr Mordrid
20th December 2005, 08:46
Overcapacity because of cost. Lower the cost to a level where solar is financiallly viable for the end user and it'll be worthwhile.

Dr. Mordrid

20th December 2005, 16:26
Well it is kind of viable , it just takes 10 year to recoup your costs(in a sunny location)

These thin films ones are defintely going to reduce costs, crystalline silicon solar cells are very expensive but are more or less indestructable. Amorphous silicon is a lot cheaper but will reduce to half it capacity in a 5 years or so, thin film metal with no silicon should be cheaper and have lot longer lifetime than amorphous silicon.

I think I am going to have a look around to see if I can find somewhere to buy some these new solar cells, this tech really sneaked up on me.

Brian Ellis
20th December 2005, 23:37
The only negative points are that gallium and indium are horrendously expensive (well into the thousands/kg) and in very short supply (there is a shortage of gallium used quite extensively for gallium arsenide semiconductors), while selenium compounds are very toxic. The supply problems are probably why the proposed production is so limited.

I have a selenium PV cell in my Weston Master exposure meter of c. 1950!

21st December 2005, 00:21
Overcapacity because of cost. Lower the cost to a level where solar is financiallly viable for the end user and it'll be worthwhile.

Dr. Mordrid Sory didn't make myself abundantly clear.... what I meant was that existing panels are already being sold way below cost as it is - every panel is a loss-maker for the manufacturer pretty much - so a cheaper technology may well not work its way through to the consumer. Solar panel roll-out is still utterly dependent on subsidies in the short to medium term IMHO unfortunately. (there are quite a few other cool techs though - like a bit of what looked like see-through sticky-backed plastic stuck to a colleague's window that was driving a small fan :) can't remember how that was working off the top of my head now... and probably cost as much as his pension is worth...)

21st December 2005, 00:32
yeah , unfortunately the best metal for use as transparent conductive "plate" is platinum.

There is a little point that can work in crystalline silicon solar cells, they have VERY long lifetime(they don't degrade in like most thin film PV's), and in a concentrator setup (mirrors) there effiecency goes up significantly...and mirrors are cheap