Energy / Climate Change

January 13, 2006


Showa Shell to Mass-Produce Next-Generation Solar Cells in 2007

Keywords: Environmental Technology Manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 

Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a major Japanese oil company belonging to the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, announced on August 10, 2005 that it will start commercial production of next-generation CIS solar modules in 2007. CIS photovoltaic cells are based on thin-film technology that employs a copper indium diselenide (CuInSe2 or CIS) compound-semiconductor.

The company succeeded in improving the conversion efficiency of CIS modules and developed mass production technology under an ongoing research project commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). Based on these results, Showa Shell has decided to start building a new plant in December 2005 that will start production in January 2007.

The plant will be the world's first facility large enough to annually produce a quantity of CIS modules equivalent to a total generation output capability of 20 megawatts. These will be sold mainly for residential and industrial applications. The plant is located in the "High-Tech Land Owaki" industrial complex in Tano Town, Miyazaki Prefecture.

The structure of CIS solar modules is completely different from conventional crystalline silicon-based solar cells, and eliminates the need for silicon, which is now in heavy demand worldwide. Raw material shortages are not a problem for silicon-free CIS modules, which are also environment-friendly because they do not contain hazardous substances such as lead or cadmium. Unlike crystalline silicon solar modules, CIS modules are matte black.

Posted: 2006/01/13 10:40:01 AM
Japanese version