Strenuous efforts to lower the production cost of a solar battery are being made in Japanese universities. Susumu Noda of Kyoto University applied photonic crystal, a nanotechnology to confine light, to the production of a solar battery. His research team successfully reduced the thickness of a solar battery to 500 nanometers, smaller than one quarter of the thickness of the existing solar battery, while maintaining the current level of generation efficiency. If this technology is established, it will be possible to reduce the production cost of a solar battery to less than half.
NaraInstitute of Science and Technology developed a new processing method of a solar battery in alliance with Teijin. The new processing method produces a solar battery by mixing multiple materials while radiating laser to them. It can reduce the production cost to less than half of the production cost of the existing method that uses the semiconductor manufacturing technology. Yasushi Sobajimaof Osaka University built a solar battery using low-priced amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon. Although amorphous easily deteriorates, his team improved the durability of solar battery by controlling materials at the atomic level. His new technology can be applied to a high performance solar battery and will reduce the production cost of a solar battery to a fraction of the production cost using amorphous silicon.
Panosonic's solar battery plant starts operations