Sanyo Electric Co Ltd achieved a cell conversion efficiency of 23% in its HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) solar cell.
Sanyo President Seiichiro Sano made this announcement at the press conference on financial statements May 14, 2009. The efficiency is on the research and development level, not the volume production level. The details will be disclosed in the near future, according to the company. Sanyo previously attained a conversion efficiency of 22.3% at maximum on the research and development level.
At the press conference, Sano spent much time to explain future strategies on the solar cell business. Though the business is currently being affected by the global recession, Sanyo will focus its management resources on the solar cell business, expecting that "it will certainly grow in the long run," he said.
Sanyo forecasts that the solar cell market in fiscal 2009 (April 2009 to March 2010) will drop to 5GW, which is smaller than that in the preceding fiscal year, because of the global recession and that it will grow to 6GW in fiscal 2010, 7GW in fiscal 2011 and 40GW in fiscal 2020 due to drawdown of fossil fuels and other factors. The company aims to gain a 10% market share in fiscal 2020.
To expand the market share, Sanyo will strengthen its cost competitiveness. Specifically, it will reduce production costs by, for example, manufacturing the Si wafers that are used in HIT solar cells in-house. The company will start to produce Si wafers at its Oregon plant in the US within fiscal 2009, aiming to increase the ratio of Si wafers that are manufactured in-house and used in its HIT solar cells to 20% in fiscal 2010.
In respect to marketing, Sano said, "We are falling behind our competitors in receiving big orders. So, we are considering relocating the majority of our surplus employees from unprofitable businesses that will be discontinued or scaled down to the solar cell marketing division."
Sanyo plans to increase the global sales of its HIT solar cells in fiscal 2009 by 20% compared with the preceding fiscal year by expanding its sales to the public sector in Japan, for example.
As for thin-film solar cells, Sanyo has been marketing its products through a company that was established jointly with Nippon Oil Corp (Eneos) in January 2009, according to Sanyo. And Sanyo will finalize its business plan, including its investment in mass production, within the first half of fiscal 2009. It plans to enhance the production capacity of thin-film solar cells to 2GW in fiscal 2020.