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Last week, Honda announced that it is now powering the Honda Performance Development Facility using newly installed solar cells. As the largest commercial solar-cell demonstration in the US, the project is one of Honda’s largest to date, and will help to reduce CO2 emissions by 64 metric tons per year.
Honda Performance Development is Honda’s racing development and sales organization, and helps develop engine technology for various racing programs, like the IZOD IndyCar series, American Le Mans series, the Le Mans Series in Europe, etc. HPD recently started pursuing “green racing” initiations, including the development of hybrid and alternative-fuel race vehicles.
The solar cell array is comprised of eight hundred 100-kilowatt cells, and the panels are made of a thin film made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). They are installed on the roof, the carport and the canopy of the loading dock, and will have the ability to follow the path of the sun.
The CIGS film in use is described as “next-generation,” introduces significant improvements to solar cell technology, and is one of the most efficient CIGS-based thin-film solar cell systems in the world. The film is said to have a conversion efficiency that exceeds 13%. It requires less raw material and 40% less energy to create and is easier to install. The technology is already used in Japan in fifteen facilities, and has a total output of 2.5 megawatts.
Besides helping to provide energy for the building, the installation also demonstrates the capabilities of the panels themselves, which were developed by Honda Soltec Co., Ltd. Honda will monitor their energy output using an internet-based monitoring system, and test the capabilities of the solar cells for commercial use.
It’s no surprise that Honda is implementing solar technology at one of its facilities. Honda has consistently outperformed other manufacturers with its serious pursuit of environmental friendly technology. Another current green project receiving attention recently is the Civic Natural Gas. Honda was also the first manufacturer in the US to introduce a hybrid vehicle. Last September, it was in the news for its 11th LEED-Certified green building in North America, and has made the list of top greenest vehicles for the past eleven years.