Seeing solar energy progress is a good thing, but it still has one problem: at this point, it’s still inefficient when compared with other sources of energy. And now Japan and Europe have announced [PDF] that they will work together to develop the world’s most efficient photovoltaic cell over the next four years. → Read More
Whenever I overhear conversations on the environment, the common consensus is always, “why don’t they just put solar panels everywhere?” As much as that would be the most optimistic scenario, there have been and still are some serious road blocks to widespread solar panel use: efficiency and cost.
The theory of lowering cost is easy. Increase production efficiency, and panel cost will lower … → Read More
Solar energy is progressing: Japan-based OS has developed the so-called “Mobile Solar Unit” [ENG, PDF], which is essentially a portable power generation system that comes with a retractable solar panel. The system can provide a total of 40W of power, 16W from the solar sheet and 24W from a built-in battery. → Read More
The Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) has made a step forward in solar energy. The institute says that in cooperation with Toshiba and chemical company JSR, it has developed technology [JP] that makes it possible to slash productions costs of solar cells by up to 70% when compared to existing methods. → Read More
Yesterday, we reported that Sharp is ready to invest $180 million in a new plant near Osaka to mass-produce solar cells. And now, just 24 hours later, we have yet another positive news item from the green energy front: Sanyo today announced it will start mass-producing a new type of solar cell, too. → Read More
Back in September, Sharp made headlines when the company showed the world’s most efficient solar cell, a prototype that can convert 42.1% of sunlight into electricity. Yesterday, the company announced it will start mass-producing a new type of solar cell at its Sakai City plant in western Japan, with a total investment of $180 million. → Read More
If there’s something solar energy as a technology needs, then it’s better and cheaper solar cells. And now Sharp has apparently made a step forward regarding the first factor: the company says it has developed a solar cell that has the world’s highest efficiency of 42.1%, breaking the record of Spectrolab of the US. → Read More
It appears that there may be a recession proof industry after all. The Solar Energies Industry Association just released their annual report, and while coal and oil are “suffering”, solar is a growth industry. → Read More
A Tokyo-based venture called ideal Star [JP] has developed a new method that makes it possible to produce solar cells in the form of flexible and thin threads. The company is supported by a total of six Japanese universities and the government.
The current prototype cell is 5cm long and just 0.8mm in diameter. ideal Star says the core consists of polymer material and is surrounded by an electrode… → Read More
Sharp, the biggest (in terms of market share) of all eight major Japanese cell phone makers, has been talking about internationalizing its phone business for quite some time now. It makes sense, as the domestic market is shrinking and as Sharp only sold 20% of all their cell phones outside Japan (1.6 million units) last fiscal. → Read More
There’s a reason why Panasonic paid $4.4 billion in this economic downturn to acquire former rival Sanyo, and the reason is that Panasonic wants to go as “green” as possible in the future. Sanyo isn’t only the world’s leading maker of lithium ion batteries, but also the (now former) company behind the eneloop brand, which consists of a range of eco-friendly solar products.
But buying Sanyo wasn’t… → Read More
Earlier this year, we reported twice about Japan’s serious plans to go to outer space to generate solar energy and then beam it back to Mother Earth. And today, Sharp has shown the first solar cell that’s not only bendable (we’ve seen that before) but that also withstands conditions in space. In addition, the company says those cells boast a record-high solar efficiency of 36%. → Read More
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… → Read More
Sharp Japan announced today it has developed a solar cell with the world’s highest conversion efficiency [press release in English]. The new product features an conversion efficiency of 35.8%, while Sharp only achieved 31.5% with the previous model. The latest model is a compound solar cell, in which two or more elements form photo-absorption layers (see the graphic below). → Read More
Solar energy is being used in a number of applications already, but carports are something new. Japan-based Sankyo Tateyama Aluminium has begun selling carports [JP] with solar power generation systems installed on their tops. The main idea is to attract both customers who aren’t able to install solar panels in their homes and those who need to boost the amount of solar energy in their houses. → Read More
Japan is getting more active in the solar energy field in recent months, and now, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has revealed a plan under which solar photons will be used to propel satellites in outer space [JP, PDF]. The aim is to make satellites in general more energy-efficient. → Read More
Sanyo added a few new products to its successful eneloop brand of “green” electronics today [JP], i.e. a hand warmer, a battery-powered and extra-warm blanket and a neck warmer. The coolest new product is the eneloop portable solar, a portable solar panel that’s sized at 174(W)×204(H)×26(D)mm. → Read More
Solar energy remains a hot topic (no pun intended) in Japan. As part of a huge economic stimulus plan, the government plans to convert all of the country’s 32,000 public elementary and middle schools to solar power by 2020. The aim: reduction of CO2 emissions and cutting long-term energy costs. → Read More
This may sound ridiculous first time you hear it, but Japan is thinking about solar power from panels located in space to mother earth, or to be more exact, the nation of Nippon itself. According to the Nikkei (one of Japan’s biggest newspapers), the government plans to ask local technology companies to participate in the endeavor as early as next month. → Read More
I think everyone agrees that using solar energy is generally a good thing to do, but there are usually two problems: cost and effective conversion rates (sun light to solar energy). Now Tokyo-based Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) has developed an organic thin-film solar cell that does away with the need for using (expensive) silicon for the production of these cells. And it’s relatively efficient, too. → Read More
Japan’s version of the MIT, the University of Tokyo, plans to test transmitting electricity over superconducting cables using a solar power system in a desert in Chile. The project team aims at researching which combination of solar cell infrastructure and superconducting wires (instead of copper wires) is best suited for extreme environments. → Read More
Japan is taking its own “Green Deal” very seriously, it seems. Today, the Japanese government said solar energy and electric cars are the two key areas to focus on on the path to achieving a low-carbon-emission society. Next month, an economic advisory council will present a national growth strategy plan for Japan’s future through to 2020. And green technology is the main pillar. → Read More
Sharp Japan today presented an extra-versatile residential-use solar power generation system [JP] that can be installed even on small or oddly shaped rooftops (the picture to the left shows the power conditioner unit). The new system, dubbed Roofit, will be available in Japan starting April. Sharp didn’t say anything about their international plans. → Read More
Electric bikes are becoming more and more popular in Japan as top electronics brands such as Panasonic, Toshiba and Yamaha are rolling out new models monthly.
In December last year, Sanyo announced an electric bike and said it may even be exported to overseas markets soon. Today, the company said [JP] that from March on, the local government of Tokushima Prefecture in Southern Japan will get… → Read More
Toshiba was one of the few major tech companies left in Japan (maybe even the last) that has never fully embraced solar energy as a significant pillar of current and future business. But this radically changed yesterday. → Read More
The world’s first large ship to partly use solar energy to help power engine-related devices took to the seas on Friday in Kobe, central Japan.
The Auriga Leader, a car freighter jointly developed by Nippon Yusen (Japan’s largest shipping company) and Nippon Oil, has 328 solar panels on board, that produce 40 kilowatts of power. This is enough to generate about 0.3% of the energy needed for… → Read More