Kyocera Corp. (NYSE: KYO) plans to start shipping as early as fiscal 2006 a low-cost solar panel that uses just one-fifth the silicon of existing models.
The new panel sharply reduces silicon usage by lining up spherical silicon measuring 1mm or less in diameter on a non-silicon substrate. The design also eliminates the need to cut the panel to make finished products, sharply lowering material waste.
Coupled with other Kyocera technologies, a 3-kilowatt household solar power system incorporating the new panels are expected to be priced below comparable modules marketed for around 2 million yen (US$16,800).
Due to tightening silicon supplies stemming from recovering semiconductor production, the company's profit margin for solar panels is forecast at about 16 per cent for the second half of fiscal 2005, a drop of roughly 4 percentage points from the first half.
Kyocera, the world's second largest solar cell manufacturer, now makes solar panels in Japan, Mexico and elsewhere. Its total annual solar panel production in terms of cumulative power output stands at 240 megawatts.
More evidence that solar cell producers are finding ways to reduce costs by using less silicon. FYI their FY 2006 ends March 31, 2006.
KYOCERA TO BEGIN SHIPPING LOW-COST SOLAR PANELS IN FY06, Press release, Canadian Centre for Energy via Asian Pulse, November 25, 2005