By Ucilia Wang
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is diving head long into the solar business by starting a solar cell pilot production line.
The South Korean electronics giant, never one to do things in small measures, vows to become the "world's leading provider of solar power by 2015," a company executive told AsiaPulse Monday.
Samsung has built a factory with a capacity to produce 300 megawatts of solar cells per year, but the company hasn't disclose its initial production rate.
That manufacturing capacity is large for a newcomer in the business. New entrants typically start with less than 100 megawatts before they get the capital and sales to expand. Samsung, of course, has the money to make a big bet.
Whether it can rise to become a key player in solar remains to be seen. It's unclear if Samsung would assemble the cells into panels on its own or sell the cells to panel makers. Samsung is a well-known brand, and that could help the company marketing solar panels to consumers.
The company is producing crystalline silicon solar cells using equipment from Korean companies, reported the Korea Herald.
The company told the paper that its cells could convert 15 percent to 20 percent of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity. That's a big range, and it could be impressive if Samsung could really deliver cells close to 20 percent.
Most of the crystalline silicon solar cells on the market today have efficiencies in the mid-teens. Most cells on the market today are made with silicon.