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Kaneka Solar Hybrid Thin Film Solar Panels – Review of GSA 60 Watt Solar Moduel Sale Prices,Technology

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Kaneka is a Japanese company which is present in a number of product categories like chemicals,functional and expandable plastic products, foodstuffs, life science products and synthetic fibers.However the main focus of the company is in Thin Film Solar Panels.Kaneka has been developing amorphous silicon thin film technology since 1980 and has advanced manufacturing into developing higher efficiency tandem microcrystalline silicon solar panels.The company also sells transperant see through solar panels.Note Thin Film Technology is  facing existential threat from the rapid price reduction in the mainstream crystalline silicon technology which comprises about 85% of the global solar panel market.Kaneka sells its solar modules under the HYBRID brand name which refers to its hybrid tandem thin film silicon technology.Note other companies like Sanyo,Mitsubishi.Oerlikon have also developed this form of technology which gives higher efficiency solar panels as it captures a bigger part of the solar spectrum.

Kaneka Solar Panel Production

Kaneka can produce over 150 MW/year in our Toyooka Factory.This plant is in Toyooka city, Hyogo prefecture,
Their next goal is to expand to 1GW/year around 2015.HYBRID Solar Panels – The company’ HYBRID solar panel has a tandem structure that absorbs both the blue and red ends of the light spectrum allowing it to convert even more of the sun’s light into energy.Features of the HYBRID Technology

1) Kaneka’s HYBRID solar panel has a tandem structure.Its dual-layer structure of microcrystalline and amorphous silicon can capture from short to long wavelengths of the light spectrum, allowing the HYBRID to convert even more sunlight into electricity. This enhances the efficiency of power generation, and produces up to 30% higher power output than conventional thin-film amorphous silicon panels.

2) Unlike traditional crystalline panels, the HYBRID cells allow it to perform even if part of the panel is shaded

3) Because of HYBRID’s cell structure, low angle (5 degree) roof installations are possible without a significant loss of power generation by shadow.

Kaneka GSA 60 Watt Solar Modules – The Kaneka 60 watt solar panel is a amorphous silicon thin film panel and  performs better in higher temperatures which is characteristic of thin film solar technology.. Kaneka solar panels are best suited for grid-tie and water pumping applications. The lowest retail prices of the GSA 60 Watt Solar Panel is around $100/watt which is $1.6/watt.Note this is one of the lowest prices of a 60 watt solar panel price in retail.Here are the other features – Power warranty of 25 years (80% and Product guarantee for 5 years.It is UL and IEC 61646 tested and certified and has Dimensions of 39x39x1.6

Kaneka Solar Panel Prices

The Kaneka 60 Watt Solar Pallet retails of $85.Note some wholesale solar panel suppliers are selling it at $3.5-4/watt or more than $200 for this 60 watt panel which is too high.Note most of the solar panel sellers are selling at this price which is crazy since you can buy the cheapest crystalline solar panels at $1.5/watt which is more efficient that the amorphous silicon solar panels from Kaneka

Kaneka also sells solar panels in the 55 watt,100 Watt ,105 Watt and 110 Watt Range.Kaneka corporation manufactures see throug solar cells while Taiyo Kogyo manufactures see throug solar products.TSS(Taiyo See-through Solar) is a high performance glass which can generate electric power through photovoltaics. Moreover, the glass functions as a heat shield preventing excessive solar heat gain.

Amorphous vs Crystalline Silicon Technology

1) Efficiency – The Efficiency of Amorphous  Silicon Solar Panels is about 7-10% depending on different manufacturers while that for crystalline silicon panels can vary from 15% for common solar panels to 20% for the most efficient solar panels from sale by Sunpower.Note the efficiency of Monocrystalline Silicon Cells is on the higher side.

2) Cost – The cost of a-Si solar panels is generally lower by 15-20% due to the efficienydifference with crystalline silicon panels.However the drastic fall in prices of crystalline solar panels of late has made the differnece lower which has impacted the sales of Amorphous  Silicon Panels

3) Weight – The Weight of Amorphous  Silicon Panels is much lower than that of normal Crystalline Silicon Panels because the Thin Film that is used implies that the substrate can also be thinner.

4) Availability – Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels are much more widely and easily available than A-Si Panels

5) Flexibility – Its possible for  Amorphous  Panels to be flexible because their lower weight means they can be put on flexible substrates like plastic .This is not possible with crystalline silicon solar panels.

Kaneka Competitors in Amorphous and Tandem Silicon Solar Panels

  1. Sharp – the Japanese Zaibatsu known more for its Electronics Products is also the world’s No 1 Company in terms Solar Module Revenues.Sharp has been the solar world leader since the past 4-5 years despite stiff competition recently  from upcoming Chinese Crystalline Solar (c-Si) players and Thin Film Leader First Solar.The Chinese have gained almost 50% of the world’s marketshare in Q409 from a non existent share in 2006 boosted by their low cost production .First Solar through its world beating Cadmium Tellerium(CdTe) Thin Film Technology has also managed to vault itself to the No.2 position in 2009.Sharp has started shipping a-Si modules from its 1 GW capac ity plant in Sakai.With its established distribution strengths and technological abilities in LCD Technology,Sharp is one company that can survive the c-Si onslaught.With most of the a-Si thin film competitors bankrupt or in a moribund state,Sharp can capitalize to completely capture this space.However the cost structure of Sharp is not clearly known right now to make a clear call on how this will turn out.
  2. Oerlikon– This Swiss manufacturer does not make amorphous silicon solar panels,it sells the equipment which makes solar panels.The company remains the only large pure play manufacturer of a-Si equipment after Applied Materials called it a day.The company is claiming low costs at much better efficiency for its new equipment.Oerlikon has said that its new generation equipment will cuts cost to 70c/watt and improve efficiency to 10% from the current 9%.This equipment will be shipped to Asian customers like Astroenergy by 2012 making it competitive with other solar technologies
  3. Energy Conversion Devices – After First Solar,Energy Conversion Devices seemed the mostly likely viable company in Thin Film Technology.After a few quarters of profits in 2008,the company went into the red as its flexible a-Si modules failed to cut costs as fast as others.It has been shutting factories in the US and shifting to low cost locations.Still one of the biggest independent Thin Film Producers.Seems more likely that it will be bought out then survive independently.The company is facing problems currently as its triple junction amorphous silicon cell technology has much higher costs than the currently available crystalline silicon panels.
  4. Masdar – Masdar, Abu Dhabi owned Green Company plans to build a  Solar Thermal plant called “Shams 1? near Abu Dhabi. Masdar PV has been in the news recently with the Dismissal of its top executives as its German Thin Film plant is facing trouble.Masdar PV sourced technology and equipment from Applied Material’s Thin Film Division which is struggling to survive against the onslaught of Crystalline Silicon (c-Si) competition.Applied Materials has drastically reduced support to its “SunFab” amorphous Silicon (a-Si) thin film technology with 90% drop in Poly Silicon prices making a-Si technology uncompetitive.Q-Cells andSuntech,two major customers of Applied Material’s SunFab product have already written off their investment.With these two Solar Stalwarts failing to make a-Si products viable,it is highly unlikely that Masdar PV will get much success from this venture.
  5. Astroenergy – This is a Chinese company which is part of the Chint Group of companies.Astroenergy sells crystalline solar  panels as well as tandem and amorphous silicon solar panels.The company hopes to survive the onslaught of competition through the help of its big parent and offering a numerous types of solar panels targeted towards all groups.
  6. Trony Solar – Trony Solar is the largest Solar Thin Film Producer in China and uses a-Si Technology to producer Solar Panels used mostly in Off-Grid Applications.TRONY is located in the Longgang District in Shenzhen. By 2015 the company plans to achieve production of 1,000 MW thin film solar cells by three stages The company uses its own custom made equipment and manages to get decent margins for its products.The company recently listed on the HK Stock Exchange.


Also Read about Reviews on

Sharp Solar Panels

Sanyo Solar Panels

First Solar Solar Panels

Bosch Solar Panels

BP Solar Panels



Abhishek Shah

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