Powerful solar solutions

Sharp enters the photovoltaic market with the LR0GC02 solar panel, featuring an output rating of 300mW on an area of 27.7cm for optimum efficiency. With a thickness of only 0.8mm, it is also one of the thinnest photo cells currently available. With a total of ten cells, the LR0GC02 solar panel produces an output voltage of 5 V at a maximum of 60 mA. The cells made of polycrystalline silicon thus achieve an efficiency of 12.8 percent. In contrast, a conventional amorphous cell is only around half as efficient. The LR0GC02 panel’s output rating of a maximum of 300 mW is already sufficient to operate a memory-in-pixel LCD, also recently presented by Sharp, plus relevant driver components as a stand-alone unit without additional power supply. This innovative type of LCD requires less than a hundredth of the power of conventional liquid crystal displays of comparable size. In combination, memory-in-pixel LCDs and the new solar panel offer the ideal basis for innovative, network-independent devices such as so-called ‘smart metres’ thermometres and sensors for home automation systems and for GPS-assisted bicycle computers, pulse metres etc.

The LR0GC02 PV panel can be easily integrated into the housings of mobile devices, thanks to its compact dimensions of 41 x 67.5 mm and, above all, its minimal thickness of 0.8 mm. To avoid electromagnetic interference, the panel has special interfaces for system integration particularly important for devices with wireless data transmission. The cell only supports the measures necessary for the overall device; the solar panel itself does not give off any radiation.
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, a double wiring of the cells ensures full efficiency, even in the event of a cell fracture.

The solar panel from Sharp is therefore not only suited to supporting the power supply of mobile telephones such as the SH002 from Sharp. The operation time of laptops, industry handhelds and portable test and measurement equipment can also be extended with the aid of Sharp photovoltaic components. Simple applications such as LED street lamps can even be run as completely self-sufficient units via solar power.

Over the next year, Sharp is aiming to gradually expand its portfolio of photovoltaic components in order to cover the broad spectrum of mobile applications. An even more compact 5 V panel with 130 mW output is planned for the first quarter of 2010. This is also to be followed in the first half of the coming year by types with 0.5 V and 1 V output voltage in output levels of 30, 60 and 300 mW.

Samples of the LR0GC02 solar panel are available via the sales offices of Sharp Microelectronics and distribution partners in Europe with immediate effect. Series production has already started.