Want to know more about the solar moonroof option that's available on the latest third-generation Toyota Prius for 2010? Read on. According to Tech-On from Nikkei newspaper in Japan, the actual polycrystalline Si cells used by the automaker are supplied by Kyocera and are arranged in six columns and six rows.

These 36 cells are about 16.5-percent efficient and reportedly generate over 50 watts of power, which is sufficient to directly power an electric fan that helps keep the cabin cool when the car isn't running. Toyota's first design apparently sent power to a battery, but the Japanese automaker was worried that the power source would degrade over time with frequent use.

Interestingly, the inclusion of the solar moonroof precludes the use of the standard car's Pagoda roof, which slightly increases the car's frontal area and therefore negatively impacts overall aerodynamics somewhat, though not enough to cause any measurable decrease in efficiency. According to Toyota, the unit is quite robust and there is no need to be concerned that the solar system isn't able to withstand the rigors of automotive use.

[Source: Tech-On]

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