Sony says develops cost-efficient solar cells

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony Corp 6758.T said on Sunday it has developed dye-sensitized solar cells with an energy conversion efficiency of 10 percent, a level seen necessary for commercial use.

Dye-sensitized solar cells, which use photosensitive dye and do not require costly and large-scale production equipment, are seen as a promising next-generation solar cell variety and potential threat to silicon-based solar cells.

Germany's Q-Cells QCEG.DE and Japan's Sharp Corp 6753.T are leading manufacturers of silicon-based solar cells.

Sony’s dye-sensitized solar cell operations are still in the research and development stage and nothing has been decided on potential commercialization, a company spokesman said.

Global sales of solar cells are growing briskly due to higher oil prices and strong demand for renewable energy.

Sharp expects its solar cell sales to rise 19 percent in the current business year to March 2009 to 180 billion yen ($1.74 billion).

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Tomasz Janowski