Kyocera Reduces Solar Cell Thickness

New process offers greater efficiency in consumption of silicon over standard industry methods

06/02/08

Scottsdale, AZ ― June 2, 2008 ― Kyocera (NYSE:KYO) today announced a new achievement in its solar cell manufacturing process that offers higher efficiency in its consumption of multicrystalline silicon, the essential raw material used to make photovoltaic solar cells and modules.

The new mass-production process allows Kyocera to manufacture solar cells with a thickness of 180 micrometers using the latest advances in silicon ingot slicing and wafer coating. The industry’s standard mass-production methods for multicrystalline silicon solar cells yield thicknesses between 200 to 260 micrometers.

The achievement is one element of a broader strategy by Kyocera to more than double its global production capacity for solar modules within the next three years, while minimizing its consumption of silicon, according to Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc.

“Long-term contracts with our supplier partners assure us of sufficient silicon stocks to expand our production output from about 207 megawatts of solar modules in 2007 to a target of 500 megawatts in the year ending March 31, 2011,” Hill stated.

In addition to reducing cell thickness, the company’s R&D priorities include continuous improvement in the energy conversion efficiency of its solar cells. Kyocera reported achieving a new world record of 18.5 percent efficiency in its multicrystalline silicon solar cells in October 2006, using a design with electrical contacts mounted on the underside of the cell. The company plans to have cells of this design in mass production by March 2010.

Kyocera’s continuous R&D efforts in solar energy technologies since 1975 have made the company a world leader in photovoltaic cells and modules ― enabling it to supply fully integrated solutions, from components to complete photovoltaic solar power generating systems. In 1982, Kyocera was the first company to mass produce multicrystalline silicon solar cells using the casting method, which remains the industry standard today.  By producing all of its own components, without outsourcing or procuring any semi-finished products, the company consistently delivers industry-leading quality and reliability.  

About Kyocera

Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, Kyocera Corporation is a world-leading manufacturer of fine ceramic materials and components for all fields of technology. The diverse business enterprises of the Kyocera Group, comprising more than 180 subsidiaries worldwide, are engaged in providing information and communications equipment, products to enhance the quality of life, and technologies that promote environmental preservation.

Kyocera employs more than 66,000 people globally and recorded consolidated net sales of 1.29 trillion yen (approximately $12.9 billion) during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. Kyocera Solar, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., markets the company’s photovoltaic products and systems in the Americas and Australia.