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SANYO to Establish ‘Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center


In the Gifu Plant—where the Solar Ark stands as a monument and symbol for a clean energy society

Tokyo.—SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO) announced today that it will establish a new ‘Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center’ within its Gifu Plant in Japan. The plant, located in Anpachi, Gifu prefecture, houses the Solar Ark, a large-scale solar power generation facility that stands as a monument to the world of SANYO’s commitment and efforts to create a clean energy-based society.

SANYO is currently advancing the development of its solar technology, primarily focused on its proprietary HIT*1 solar cells, at the Advanced Energy Research Center of R&D Headquarters and at the Solar Division of the Clean Energy Company.

The ‘Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center’ will promote the development of next-generation thin-film silicon solar cells aiming at reducing the cost of solar power generation to match costs as low as electricity charges applied to home-use.

Dr. Shinya Tsuda, SANYO’s vice president and General Manager of R&D Headquarters, commented, “SANYO considers next-generation thin-film silicon solar cells as the third generation of solar cells, following amorphous and HIT solar cells. With this third generation of products, we aim to commercialize them to decrease the cost of solar power generation to match or be comparable to current home electricity bills in the future.”

He also added, “Based on a medium- and long-term perspective, we will begin full-scale development of next-generation thin-film silicon solar cells in order to meet demand for highly efficient but much cheaper solar cells as well as HIT solar cells to meet higher-end needs demanding the world’s best efficiency.” Resources at the Gifu Plant already exist that can be utilized for next-generation thin-film silicon solar cells, including such things as a basis for technical development of semiconductors and thin-film transistors.

To date, SANYO has always been at the forefront of solar cell technology development. Major achievements in solar advances include the world’s first commercialization of amorphous silicon solar cells named “AMORTON” in 1980 and the launch of the highly efficient HIT solar cells through proprietary company technology in 1997.*2

Looking at the global solar market, demand for solar power-generation is expected to increase significantly as more and more countries are introducing systems that purchase electricity obtained from renewable sources at preferential conditions, such as the feed-in tariff system adopted by the German Government.

Aiming at a huge increase in sales, especially in the overseas market, SANYO will invest 80 billion yen in HIT solar cells over the next three fiscal years and increase production capacity to 650 MW by FY2010, up 250% from the current amount.

*1 HIT stands for Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin-layer. HIT solar cells are developed by SANYO and are composed of crystalline silicon wafers and thin amorphous silicon layers. These uniquely structured cells allow the world’s greatest power generation per installation space due to superior technological advantages, including high conversion efficiency and less vulnerability to high temperatures.
*2 Part of SANYO’s solar cell research and development has received support from NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization).
New Center Outline:

Center Name: Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center
Establishment: April 1, 2008 (tentative)
Location: Gifu, Japan (inside SANYO Gifu Plant)
Employees/Workforce: Approx. 30 (when launched; increase to more than 50)
Investment: Approx. 6 billion yen (over three years from FY2008—FY2010)
SANYO Press Contact (English Only):

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd.
Global Communications Department
Tel: +81-3-6414-8615
Fax: +81-3-6414-8720


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