Honda Motors Co. is pondering the export of its thin-film solar cells as the company gets ready to expand its manufacturing plant to meet a previously announced 27.5-megawatt annual production capacity, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The company began commercial production in October of its solar cells made from copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, or CIGS.
In November, the company said it would reach an annual production capacity of 27.5 megawatts by this spring.
Missing the target timeframe, Honda told Reuters that it expects to reach the goal by the end of the year. Reuters did not report on what had caused Honda's delay.
Through Honda's subsidiary Honda Soltec Co., the company has sold enough solar panels to power 100 Japanese households, according to the wire service.
Both companies are also developing technology for amorphous-silicon films.
Per the deal, Dix Hills, N.J.-based Solar Thin Films will sell CIGS products developed by Ewing, N.J.'s Amelio Solar. Solar Thin Films has obtained the rights to manufacture the equipment needed to make the CIGS products.
The move by Solar Thin Films and Amelio Solar highlighted a growing interest by some companies in developing multiple types of thin-film technologies that can then make head to market.
Travis Bradford, president of the Prometheus Institute, a Greentech Media partner, in May projected an increase in sales of all thin-film technologies – cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium diselenide and amorphous silicon (see Thin-Film Solar Has Bright Future).
He also forecasted that thin-film solar production would grow from 1 gigawatt this year to more than 9 gigawatts in 2012.
The thin-film market is currently dominated by First Solar (NSDQ: FSLR), which makes cadmium-telluride panels.
Building Asia's Largest Solar-thermal Plant
Asia's largest concentrating solar-thermal energy plant will be located in Nagpur, India, the Economic Times reported Tuesday.
During a press conference, Vilas Muttemwar, head of India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said the plant will have a 10-megawatt capacity and "private company Acme" will build it.
Solar thermal technology, which uses the sun's heat instead of light to generate electricity, has been garnering more attention lately (see California to Get More Solar-Thermal and Funding Roundup: Solar-Thermal Heats Up Despite Cool VC Climate).
Solar-thermal's high upfront costs have made the technology unattractive to investors. However, some companies are changing investors' minds by showing that building a solar-thermal power plant can be far cheaper for utilities than other types of solar power plants.
A report by the Prometheus Institute and Greentech Media forecasts that concentrating solar-thermal will make up 12 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2020.