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KYOCERA Supplies Solar Modules for New Toyota Prius

KYOTO, Japan--Kyocera Corporation (President: Tetsuo Kuba; hereafter “Kyocera”) announced today that it is supplying solar modules for the new Toyota Prius solar ventilation system, an optional feature for the hybrid car model introduced in Japan by Toyota Motor Corporation (hereafter “Toyota”) on May 18. The system ventilates the air inside of the car by using the electricity generated by the solar module on the rooftop to drive the fans while the car is parked during the daytime. This feature automatically moderates temperature rise inside of the vehicle even during hot seasons.

For this product, Kyocera has implemented strict quality control evaluations, done through rigorous testing to confirm heat resistance, vibration resistance, shock resistance and other aspects, in order to ensure that the quality meets the standards required for onboard components used on the new Prius. For the production of this module, Kyocera has set up a dedicated production line with specialized manufacturing engineers to ensure thorough manufacturing control.

By supplying solar modules for the Prius, a leading eco-car that has won praise all over the world, Kyocera is proud to offer a new function for the use of solar modules to the owners of the vehicles.

■ Specifications of Solar Module Equipped on the New Prius Model

Output   Average 56 W (Solar module)
Conversion efficiency   16.5% (Solar cells)
Production bases   Solar cells: Yohkaichi Plant (Shiga Prefecture, Japan)

Solar modules: Ise Plant (Mie Prefecture, Japan)

Application   Driving onboard ventilation system

Features of Kyocera Solar Modules Equipped on Prius

■ High quality derived from the fully integrated production process

In 1982, Kyocera successfully began mass production of multicrystalline silicon solar cells using the casting method, which has now become the mainstream method used in solar power generating systems today. Since then, Kyocera has carried out all production processes in-house, from procurement of raw materials to silicon casting, cutting, wafer substrate production, cell production, and solar module assembly. The integrated production process enables Kyocera to make improvements in each step of the production process including the fusing and casting of raw materials, thus making it possible to enhance overall quality by implementing quality improvement, performance enhancement and cost reduction.

■ Kyocera solar cells utilize unique technology

A high level of aesthetic quality was also required of the design of the solar modules to be mounted on the roof of the new Prius model. Since 2002, Kyocera has offered high-performance solar cells to the global market that utilize a unique Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) technology.

RIE is a technology utilized to create microscopic ridges on the surface of the cell using plasma and reactive gases. The subtle ridges allow the solar cells to better absorb the sunlight reflected on the surface, therefore enhancing output and conversion efficiency. At the same time, a uniform dark navy blue color has been realized. The product responds to customer needs not only in terms of performance but also with its stylish appearance.

“Kyocera will continue to strive for enhanced quality and product innovation in order to pursue the full potential of solar power,” stated Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar, Inc. “We aim to contribute to the protection of the global environment through the expanded use of our reliable, high quality products.” In order to supply products to meet market needs, Kyocera has set up solar module assembly plants in the major markets across the world. Kyocera supplies the U.S. market with its Tijuana Plant located in Mexico.