Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation intends to start selling a material that enables the walls of buildings and various other structures (possibly wind turbine towers and nacelles) to generate electricity. One clear advantage of this is that solar panels would no longer be limited to the rooftops of these buildings. They can now be covered with solar cells.
The company intends to start selling the material in 2013. Each square meter of the material is said to be capable of generating 80 watts of power and the efficiency of it is said to be 11%. 11% efficiency means that it can generate 110 watts per square metre. 80 watts per square metre translates to an efficiency of 8%. So, I am assuming that it is the total area efficiency that is 8% and the single cell efficiency that is 11%.
The more realistic figure is the total area efficiency because it is measured using a realistic solar panel consisting of multiple cells.
Traditional c-Si (crystalline silicon) solar cell materials are expensive to integrate into walls, but, thanks to Mitsubishi’s creation of cells that use organic semiconductors manufactured using crude oil and other materials (instead of the silicon semiconductors currently in use, this new solar cell technology is thinner and lighter than current solar panels.
Comparison to other solar panels on the market: Most solar panels are 10% to 21% efficient. Organic solar cells can be manufactured more easily than traditional solar panels that use heavy casing materials such as glass and aluminium. Experts say the production cost of the new cells could be as low as one-tenth that of traditional panels. However, we have been unable to obtain any official release or facts on this new technology yet.
The company also reportedly wants to integrate the solar material into curtains and the bodies of electric vehicles.
Thanks to a Google+ reader for sharing this with us. Let us know if any of you find an actual news release or more info on this technology from Mitsubishi.