Honda has announced that its new thin-film solar cell technology is now being used at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. As the founding sponsor of the Aquarium, Honda is providing the technology to power the Aquarium’s new June Keyes Penguin Habitat. The 11-killowatt system provides a new clean energy source that will reduce the Aquarium’s reliance on grid-supplied electricity by more than 14,000 kilowatt hours per year.
The installation of Honda’s solar panels at the Aquarium also marks the first public demonstration of the panels in the United States. Honda currently has the thin-film solar panels—which are manufactured by subsidiary Honda Soltec—installed at 22 Honda facilities worldwide. In the U.S. Honda’s motorsports engineering facility in Santa Clarita, California and its manufacturing plant in Indiana both get their energy from the sun.
Honda CIGS thin-film solar panels use a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) that require less raw material, energy and related CO2 emissions to manufacture than conventional crystal silicon solar cells. CIGS panels are substantially thinner than traditional solar panels and enable stable power generation even when the cells are in the shade.
“Deploying Honda solar cell technology in the new penguin habitat is a great expression of our company’s focus on advanced environmental technology, as well as environmental education and conservation. It’s really a perfect match,” said Stephan Morikawa, assistant vice president, Corporate Community Relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We are honored to support the Aquarium’s mission in this way.”
The new June Keyes Penguin Habitat opened to the public May 17, 2012.