Honda Soltec solar cell facility opens today

About a year ago, Honda announced the establishment of Honda Soltec, a wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary to make next-generation solar cells for homes and businesses (i.e., not for the roof of a revised Insight or anything). Over the summer, Honda Soltec began selling these cells. Today, Honda is announcing the opening of a new solar cell production plant in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan. As Honda has said from the beginning, Honda Soltec will produce enough solar cells (made from copper, indium, gallium and selenium - CIGS - instead of silicon), to genearate 27.5 megawatts a year. That should be enough power for around 9,000 homes. Sales throughout Japan have started, but full availability will kick in when production ramps up in 2008.

Details and a graph on the cells after the jump.

[Source: Honda]
Honda Soltec Commemorates Opening of Solar Cell Production Plant
- Accelerating Honda's energy creation business -

KUMAMOTO, Japan, November 12, 2007– Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda's wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, commemorated the opening of its solar cell production plant with a ceremony attended by approximately 80 dignitaries, guests and Honda officials, including Yoshiko Shiotani, the governor of Kumamoto prefecture; Junichi Mitsuyama, the deputy general manager of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Department, Kyushu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI); and Isao Ieiri, the mayor of Ohzu-machi; as well as Takeo Fukui, the president and CEO of Honda.

Using thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) instead of silicon, Honda's next-generation solar cell achieves a major reduction of approximately 50% in the amount of energy consumed during the manufacturing process compared to what is required to produce conventional crystal silicon solar cells. This makes Honda's solar cell more environmentally-responsible even during the production stage.

Honda Soltec began mass production of solar cells in October, and the annual production will reach the full capacity of 27.5 megawatts (an equivalent amount of electricity to power approximately 9,000 houses) by next spring. The company has also begun sales of solar cells for homes throughout Japan with 80 distributor locations and plans to accelerate sales by increasing the number of distributor locations to more than 200 within 2008. Honda will also work to begin exports of Honda solar cells from its new operation based in Kumamoto.

In 2006, Honda announced a global CO2 reduction target for its products and the manufacturing of those products. In addition to its effort to reduce CO2 emissions, Honda is focusing on the development and sales of energy-creation products such as cogeneration units and thin film solar cells in order to further accelerate its efforts to reduce the threat of global warming.

To reduce its environmental footprint, Honda has been proactively pursuing voluntary targets to make its automobiles, motorcycles, and power products cleaner and to reduce CO2 emissions. At the same time, Honda has been committed to develop technology for a clean energy source which does not use fossil fuels. In addition to the development of new technology to produce ethanol from cellulose, and development and sales of fuel cell vehicles and household cogeneration units in Japan and the U.S., the commercialization of the next-generation solar cells enables Honda to accelerate its efforts to contribute to the realization of an environmentally-responsible and sustainable society.

About Honda Soltec Co., Ltd.:
Establishment: December 1, 2006
Headquarters Location: Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Kumamoto Factory
1500 Hirakawa, Ohzu-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto
Sales Office Location: Wako-shi, Saitama
Capital Investment: 4 billion yen
Capitalization ratio: 100% Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
President: Akio Kazusa
Employment: Approximately 150 associates (at full production)
Production Capacity: Approximately 27.5MW (approx. for 9,000 houses with 3kW system)

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