[PV EXPO] Fuji Electric Systems Exhibits Lightweight Solar Cell Modules

Mar 2, 2009
Masao Oonishi, Nikkei Microdevices
A 2m x 50cm solar cell panel weighing about 8kg. The size of the actual product will be 4m x 50cm.
A 2m x 50cm solar cell panel weighing about 8kg. The size of the actual product will be 4m x 50cm.
[Click to enlarge image]

Fuji Electric Systems Ltd exhibited a prototype of a lightweight solar cell module at the 2nd International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo (PV EXPO 2009), which is taking place from Feb 25 to 27, 2009.

The lightweight module was manufactured by laminating the "F WAVE," a film-type amorphous solar cell, on a steel plate and is appropriate for use on a large area such as the roof of a factory.

The module weighs about half compared with a crystal-based solar cell module of the same size and is appropriate for use on existing roofs, according to the company. It plans to establish a total-solution business and handle not only this module but also inverters developed by the company in March.

The F WAVE is a flexible solar cell module that is about 1mm thick. An F WAVE module integrated with a steel plate has already been manufactured and used as roofing material in the past by Fuji Electric Systems and Sanko Kinzoku Co Ltd.

This time, the module uses a 0.8mm steel plate and will be commercialized as a 4m x 50cm roofing material. The exhibited module is 2m x 50cm and weighs about 8kg/m2, which is bout half the weight of a crystal Si-based solar cell module, according to Fuji Electric Systems.

Sealing performance will be maintained by using special anchorages for installation. The company plans to establish a business model that involves not only production of the panels but also installation and maintenance of them.

Fuji Electric Systems also exhibited a lighter module made by laminating the F WAVE on an aluminum frame. The back surface of the solar cell panel is not metallic, and the back sheet can be seen. Its weight is only 3kg/m2.

The company has been manufacturing the F WAVE module at its Kumamoto plant, and it improved the production lines in 2007. Furthermore, it plans to add two factories by 2010 and enhance its annual production capacity to 150MW.

The power generation efficiency of the solar cell module is 8%, which is about half that of a crystalline Si-based cell. For of this reason, Fuji Electric Systems intends to promote the sale of the product targeting mainly at large roofs, including those of industrial plants, where the modules can be installed over a wide area at the optimum angle.

The F WAVE requires less cost for reinforcement work compared with crystalline Si-based solar cells, and its voltage output per panel is high, which leads to reduction in the number of terminal boxes. The company sets the target conversion efficiency of the F WAVE at 12%.