Material producers in the photovoltaic business are busily occupied with developing technology to reduce generation cost. Toray developed a technology to control the reflecting of sunlight by forming a special film on the glass that covers the solar battery to help sunlight pour in a solar battery more efficiently. This new technology will increases generation efficiency by 0.3-0.4 points and decrease generation cost by 3-4% should it be applied to the crystalline solar battery. Toray’s subsidiary Toray Engineering developed equipment that applies the special film quickly by correcting warpage of the glass substrate automatically. Toppan Printing is developing parts that have wiring not on the surface but on the reverse. Eliminating wiring on the surface is expected to increase the light receiving area by several percentages. The company has already started shipping samples, and it plans the mass production within the year.
SekisuiChemical is developing a product that integrates the protection material of a solar battery with its sealant that bonds it and a solar battery together. By integrating the two parts as a product can shorten the production process and reduce the production cost of solar panels. Currently, the cost of photovoltaic generation is over 30 yen per kW, while that of thermal power generation using LNG or coals is about 10 yen per kW. The price competition is growing harder quite rapidly in the market of photovoltaic generation system. In fact, the system for housing decreased 10% in the past one year because of the increasing presence of inexpensive foreign products. It is vital for every company involved to improve the generation efficiency to survive in the market that will be benefited by the new law to purchase all power generated by renewable energy to be enforced this year.