Sharp moves into portable solar market

Sharp Microelectronics has begun a foray into making small solar-power generators for electronic devices with a 30sq cm panel that generates up to 300mW.

Sharp claimed the panel is the thinnest photocell on the market, with a thickness of 0.8mm. The LR0GC02 has ten cells, each providing an output voltage of 5V with a current of upto 60mA. The cells made of polycrystalline silicon thus achieve an efficiency of 12.8 per cent, which, according to the company is about twice the efficiency of a conventional amorphous cell.

With conventional solar cells, the high mechanical loads in mobile applications often result in cell fractures and thus substantial drops in output. With the Sharp panel, double wiring for the cells makes sure they still operates in the event of a cell fracture.

Over the next year, Sharp is aiming to gradually expand its portfolio of photovoltaic components to cover more mobile applications. A smaller 5V panel with 130mW output is planned for the first quarter of 2010.

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