Honda Soltec Company Ltd., Honda’s wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, commemorated the November 12 opening of its solar cell production plant in Kumamoto, Japan, 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.
Exterior view of Honda Soltec
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 percent 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.