, a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary, the one of Japan largest oil company will invest 100 billion yen($938 mil) in a giant solar panel powered plant, AFP says. The solar powered japanese factory will produce solar panels that will have the capacity to produce 1 gigawatt of power per year, being equivalent to the capacity of a small nuclear power plant.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda called a month ago for an increase of 10 times in the country’s use of solar power by 2020. Showa Shell came into the solar power business in 2007. They already built a 20 megawatt solar powered plant in the southern city of Miyazaki. They announced plans for building a second factory, with a 60 megawatts capacity.
The company produces its thin-film photovoltaics with copper, indium, and selenium. This differs from the copper indium gallium diselenide that companies such as Miasole, HelioVolt, Nanosolar, and Global Solar are using.
According to scientific studies, CIS had reached in 2005 a maximum efficiency in converting solar light to electricity of roughly 20 percent . That is similar to the 19.9 percentage mark that CIGS cells achieved in March by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. They are both much more cheaper than the usual silicon cells, just like cadmium telluride thin film, manufactured by First Solar.
The new plant’s location remains secret for the moment. Rumours say that the Shell company is considering areas of Japan, Europe, and the Middle East. The money source that will power this plant in the first place are also unknown for the moment.
Would this be the beginning of a temptative to reconsider the new field of the energy, from the part of the big oil drillers? Could this be a plan for the near-future? Or the fear of not being left behind the times…?