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HONDA DEVELOPS NEW SOLAR CELL

Honda Motor Co. announced recently that Honda Engineering Co., one of its subsidiaries, has developed a new solar cell that will help cut manufacturing costs by 40 percent.

The new cell, to be set up at Honda's production bases at home and abroad, will go on sale in cooperation with housing makers as early as fiscal 2003, Honda officials said.

One cell measures 1 square meter and is made of a thin film of special metal comprising copper, indium, gallium and selenium, the officials said.

It will allow Honda Engineering to spend less money on materials than the subsidiary spends for silicon, a conventional solar cell material. It will also help the company cut electricity and other energy for production by four-fifths.

The cell has a high power generation capacity, making it possible for users to pay less than electricity bills for households if they use the system for 20 years.

The officials said Honda will soon start using new cells at a factory in Shizuoka Prefecture and that it expects the cells to produce a total of 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year in January next year when it uses a total of 1,000 such cell units there.

Honda sees the value of the world market for solar cells at 160 billion yen (US$1.2 billion), with the value rising to 500 billion yen to 1 trillion yen in 2010.

Written by: Honda


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