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Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Honda's Soltec Solar Panel Business - Kumamoto, Japan
Image: courtesy of Honda Motor Co. (www.honda.com)

Honda's CIGS Solar Panel Facility - Japan

Unless you keep up to date on solar industry news, you would have missed the announcement that the Honda Motor Company opened its first solar cell production facility in Kumamoto, Japan on November 12, 2007. Honda created a separate 100% owned subsidiary company called Honda Soltec Co., founded on December 1, 2006, to enter into the solar panel business.

The Honda Soltec solar panels use copper, indium, gallium and selenium (a CIGS cell, instead of using the traditional silicon). The Honda Soltec Kumamoto plant has a maximum production capacity of 27.5 megawatts annually. Honda Soltec will concentrate on the Japanese market initially and already has 80 Honda Soltec distributors located throughout Japan. They plan to increase the number of distributors to over 200 during 2008. One can also speculate that Honda is using the plant in Kumamoto as a test facility for what will probably be much larger production operations to be built in China and the United States.

Honda will be producing two models of solar panels at the Kumamoto plant: a 115-watt and a 125-watt panel both in the 1.4m x 0.8m size. The expected retail sales price for the panels in Japan will be approximately $458 US (52290 Yen) for the 115-watt model and $529 US (60375 Yen) for the 125 watt model.

If the anticipated huge growth trend in solar voltaic panels is the future, Honda Soltec could eventually become a very significant part of Honda Motor Company's revenues.

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