TOKYO — Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. has established a mass production process for 156 x 156mm advanced mono crystalline silicon solar cells that have a conversion efficiency of 21 percent. This level of conversion efficiency -- a measurement of how much of the sun's energy a solar cell can convert to usable electrical energy -- is the highest level in the industry achieved in the mass production process of 156 x 156mm practical-size solar cell products, a level that has already been confirmed outside of our company and has received a high evaluation.

Shin-Etsu Chemical possesses about 10 patents regarding this technology, and we have decided to license of the use of these patents and its mass production process technology.

Until now, reports were issued by solar cell manufacturers and research institutions about achieving success in making a prototype of a solar cell that exceeds 21 percentconversion efficiency; however, in the mass production process of 156 x 156mm practical-size advanced solar cells, there are almost no cases that have achieved a conversion efficiency of over 21 percent.

In addition to Shin-Etsu Chemical possessing the technology for the process to mass-produce solar cells with a high conversion efficiency of 21 percent, the technology has the characteristic of being a relatively easy manufacturing process that is applicable to the existing mass production process that is based on screen-printing technology. In other words, by introducing a few additional systems into the existing mass production process, it becomes possible to mass produce solar cells with a conversion efficiency of 21 percent. Another characteristic is that it is a bifacial light-receiving type of solar cell. Because of this characteristic, we can expect greater out put power generation in a strong reflected-light environment such as on snow or on water surfaces. In addition, because it is possible to freely orient the planes to constitute a solar panel module, the module exhibits high performance, particularly in areas where snow and sand fall and pile up on the module.

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