Sanyo develops solar cell that's thinner than hair

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Sanyo is in the news today, and again it’s about the company’s green tech power. The company today announced [JP] it will do everything to become Japan’s top player in the domestic solar industry by 2012 and eventually one of the top three solar companies on a global level. At the same time, the Nikkei reports [registration required, paid subscription] that Sanyo has succeeded in developing a solar cell that’s thinner than a human hair.

The company says it will benefit greatly from a new feed-in tariff program by the Japanese government introduced this month for green energy firms. Another factor for Sanyo’s self-confidence should be the speed with which it innovates. Their new prototype solar cell is just 58 micrometers thick, about one-fourth of most solar cells currently out there. (Sorry, there’s no picture available yet)

It’s made of two types of silicon whose structure Sanyo optimized to achieve a conversion efficiency of 22%. It’s said to be as bendable as paper, meaning it can be used for a variety of purposes, for example on uneven surfaces.

Sanyo says this technology might help reduce prices by as much as 25% when compared to solar cells available today. The company wants to commercialize the solar cells by 2020.

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