Suntech Modules Verified Near 19% Efficiency

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is now utilizing its "Pluto" technology to produce photovoltaic (PV) cells with conversion efficiencies of approximately 19% on mono-crystalline cells and 17% on multi-crystalline cells.

Suntech recently sent a number of the cells to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany for third party verification. The Fraunhofer Institute test results included a mono-crystalline Pluto PV cell with a conversion efficiency of 18.8% and a multi-crystalline Pluto PV cell with a conversion efficiency of 17.2%. Both PV cells were produced on Suntech’s 3-megawatt (MW) Pluto production line.

Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech’s Chief Technology Officer said, "We are very excited about the performance of the Pluto technology. We are consistently achieving around 19% conversion efficiency on Pluto mono-crystalline PV cells and around 17% on Pluto multi-crystalline PV cells in large scale production, compared to 16.5% and 15.5% respectively using conventional screen-printed technology."

The patent-pending Pluto technology is based on the PERL technology, developed by the University of NSW in Australia, which has achieved a world record efficiency of 25% in the laboratory.

Panel texturing and lower reflectivity allows more sunlight to be absorbed throughout the day even without direct solar radiation, and thinner metal lines on the top surface reduces shading loss. Suntech’s Pluto technology can be applied to a variety of grades of silicon to suit multiple applications and product types.

Suntech anticipates ongoing enhancement of the Pluto technology and targets to achieve 20% conversion efficiency on mono-crystalline PV cells and 18% on multi-crystalline PV cells within the next two years. Suntech currently has a fully operational 34-MW Pluto PV cell line and targets to have a total of 100MW installed Pluto capacity within the next two months.

Suntech expects to receive industry certification for Pluto PV modules in 2Q09 and targets to ship more than 50 MW of the modules in 2009.

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