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KYOCERA Supplies Solar Modules for New Toyota Prius

Providing new function for solar modules on the world's best-known eco-car

May 19, 2009

Kyocera Corporation (President: Tetsuo Kuba; hereafter “Kyocera”) announced today that it is supplying solar modules for the new Toyota Prius solar ventilation system, an optional feature for the hybrid car model introduced in Japan by Toyota Motor Corporation (hereafter “Toyota”) on May 18. The system ventilates the air inside of the car by using the electricity generated by the solar module on the rooftop to drive the fans while the car is parked during the daytime. This feature automatically moderates temperature rise inside of the vehicle even during hot seasons.

For this product, Kyocera has implemented strict quality control evaluations, done through rigorous testing to confirm heat resistance, vibration resistance, shock resistance and other aspects, in order to ensure that the quality meets the standards required for onboard components used on the new Prius. For the production of this module, Kyocera has set up a dedicated production line with specialized manufacturing engineers to ensure thorough manufacturing control.

By supplying solar modules for the Prius, a leading eco-car that has won praise all over the world, Kyocera is proud to offer a new function for the use of solar modules to the owners of the vehicles.

Photo: Solar module mounted on the new Prius model *Prototype model Image: Image of the new Prius model equipped with a solar module
Solar module mounted on the new Prius model
*Prototype model
Image of the new Prius model equipped
with a solar module

Specifications of Solar Module Equipped on the New Prius Model


Average 56 W (Solar module)

Conversion efficiency

16.5% (Solar cells)

Production bases

Solar cells: Yohkaichi Plant (Shiga Prefecture, Japan)
Solar modules: Ise Plant (Mie Prefecture, Japan)


Driving onboard ventilation system

Features of Kyocera Solar Modules Equipped on Prius

High quality derived from the fully integrated production process
In 1982, Kyocera successfully began mass production of multicrystalline silicon solar cells using the casting method, which has now become the mainstream method used in solar power generating systems today. Since then, Kyocera has carried out all production processes in-house, from procurement of raw materials to silicon casting, cutting, wafer substrate production, cell production, and solar module assembly. The integrated production process enables Kyocera to make improvements in each step of the production process including the fusing and casting of raw materials, thus making it possible to enhance overall quality by implementing quality improvement, performance enhancement and cost reduction.

Image: Kyocera’s integrated production process flow
Kyocera’s integrated production process flow

Kyocera solar cells utilize unique technology
A high level of aesthetic quality was also required of the design of the solar modules to be mounted on the roof of the new Prius model. Since 2002, Kyocera has offered high-performance solar cells to the global market that utilize a unique Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) technology.

RIE is a technology utilized to create microscopic ridges on the surface of the cell using plasma and reactive gases. The subtle ridges allow the solar cells to better absorb the sunlight reflected on the surface, therefore enhancing output and conversion efficiency. At the same time, a uniform dark navy blue color has been realized. The product responds to customer needs not only in terms of performance but also with its stylish appearance.
Image: Model diagram of solar cell