solar energy

  • Panasonic ready to pump $1.1 billion into solar energy business

    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… Read More

  • Sharp develops efficient solar cells for use in outer space

    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 develops solar cell that's thinner than hair

    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… Read More

  • Sharp to release world's most efficient solar cell

    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

  • Japanese company sells carports with solar panel roofs

    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… Read More

  • They now use solar technology to propel satellites

    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's portable solar panel makes solar energy useful for gadget freaks

    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

  • Japan wants 32,000 schools to go solar by 2020

    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

  • Japan to generate solar power in outer space, then beam it to earth

    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

  • Dai Nippon's organic solar cells pave way for cheaper solar energy

    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… Read More

  • Desert town to get "green" electricity through superconducting wires

    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

  • Green Deal: Japan sees its future in solar energy, electric cars

    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

  • Roofit: Sharp introduces super-flexible solar panels for residential use

    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

  • Japan gets solar parking spot for electric bikes

    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

  • Chinese company reaches 1GW PV cell and module production capacity


    As the world’s first company, China-based Suntech Power Holdings, a photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, has reached 1GW PV cell and module production capacity. Read More

  • Toshiba: We now love solar energy, too

    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

  • Auriga Leader: Japan launches first solar cargo ship


    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… Read More

  • New wind turbine for residential use to come soon

    Japan-based housing and environmental equipment maker Nikko [JP] today said it plans to mass-produce a tiny wind turbine for home use by October next year. Nikko claims their new wind turbine unit will cost somewhere between $5,600 and $6,700 and is just 2 meters in diameter. The company currently has a small wind turbine in its line-up that costs $11,000, which seems to be too much to enter… Read More

  • "Green" Japan's newest products

    Japan is turning greener and greener by the week, it seems. This weekend, during the Eco Products 2008 exhibition in Tokyo, a total of 750 companies showcased a few hundred new environmentally friendly products and services. Four noteworthy examples are shown in the video above [JP]. The first segment is about a water heating boiler that is powered by bricks made of dried newspapers, with the… Read More

  • Japanese company sells iPhone battery with built-in solar panel

    Tokyo-based electronics company OTAS is selling a lithium-ion battery for the iPhone 3G that comes with an integrated mini solar panel [JP]. The so-called LC-1500 is housed in a leather case. OTAS says one charge with solar energy takes 13 hours whereas charging the battery via mini USB takes 3 hours. The device measures 125x64x25mm and weighs 100 grams. OTAS is selling it in Japan only… Read More