New Technologies Improve Levelized Cost of Solar Electricity for Commercial and Utility Customers
SAN FRANCISCO, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, has launched two new high-performance solar panels immediately available for purchase in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Both products deliver higher power outputs and provide a superior levelized cost of solar electricity for Suntech customers.
The first product, Suntech's HiPerforma(TM) 245 watt (W) module for residential, commercial, and utility-scale electricity generation, utilizes Suntech's advanced Pluto(TM) cell processing technology, which features a proprietary metallization process that reduces shading on the cell surface and allows cells to absorb more sunlight to generate more electricity.
The second product, the new Suntech 290W Vd Series module for utility-scale electricity generation, utilizes Suntech's SuperPoly processing technology, a superior silicon casting and wafering process that produces higher-quality multicrystalline wafers. The improved wafer enables higher power output and strong resistance to light-induced degradation.
"These advanced solar technologies represent major steps forward in our mission to drive down the cost of solar electricity generation," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Founder and CEO. "Our R&D investments have grown from US$15 million in 2008, to US$29 million in 2009, and US$40 million in 2010. Our team's 450 full-time global R&D professionals are working around the world to provide our customers with superior, high-performance solar products for every application."
SuntechHiPerforma 245W Module with Pluto(TM) Cell Processing Technology
Suntech's new 245W HiPerforma multicrystalline module utilizes Suntech's advanced Pluto(TM) cell processing technology, inspired by the PERL (Passivated Emitter Rear Locally Diffused) technology developed by the University of New South Wales in Australia, which holds the world record for silicon solar cell conversion efficiency at 25%.
The revolutionary Pluto(TM) cell processing technology features a proprietary front surface metallization process that creates grid contacts thinner than 30 microns wide, about a quarter the size of traditional screen-printed cells. These ultra-thin metal lines - made primarily of copper instead of silver - reduce shading on the cell surface, allowing the cells to absorb more sunlight and generate more electricity. Suntech's advanced Pluto(TM) cell processing technology improves solar cell efficiency by up to 10% compared to traditional screen-printed solar cells.
The advanced Pluto(TM) cell processing technology confers performance advantages to all types of silicon substrates - a unique capability among most advanced solar cell technologies - that allows Suntech to produce high-performance solar cells and modules with different types of multicrystalline and monocrystalline wafers. In 2009, Suntech set two world records for multicrystalline module conversion efficiency, independently verified by the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems in Germany.
This new 60-cell HiPerforma(TM) 245W multicrystalline module offers the following benefits to customers:
- Expected to generate 2% to 5% more power per watt peak (kWh/kWp) over time, due to a superior spectral response and high shunt resistance;
- Suntech's industry-leading 25-year power output warranty, with 0/+5% positive power tolerance that warrants 6.7% more power than the standard industry warranty; and
- Built to withstand all weather conditions, including 3.800 N/m2 (~270 km/h) wind load and 5.400 N/m2 (~55 kg/m2) snow loads, above IEC standard requirements. The product meets or exceeds UL1703, IEC 61215, and IEC 61730 standards.
"Trinity Solar applauds Suntech's introduction of the Pluto(TM) product line to the U.S.," said Ed Merrick, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Trinity Solar, a leading designer and integrator of solar electric systems in New Jersey. "Suntech's HiPerforma 245W module with Pluto(TM) cell processing technology nicely fills the wattage gap that exists today between 235W and 270W modules. Our preliminary view is that this multi-use product, usable on both residential and commercial installations, will translate into a reduction in balance-of-systems costs, a reduction in inventory levels, and allow us to compete more effectively as we drive to grid parity. We are thankful for Suntech's continued innovation and look forward to bringing their new and improved products to our customers."
"Now that our Pluto(TM) cell processing technology has reached large-scale production, we're excited to offer this new multicrystalline module in North and South America," said Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech's Chief Technology Officer as well as the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Silicon Photovoltaics and Photonics, at the University of New South Wales in Australia. "This advanced cell technology was designed specifically to work well with different grades of silicon wafers, providing Suntech the flexibility to develop competitive products for all major market segments. Given the Pluto(TM) cell processing technology's advantages, we're rapidly scaling-up production capacity and targeting to enter 2012 with 450MW running at full utilization."
Suntech290W Vd-Series Module with SuperPoly Silicon Processing Technology
Suntech's new 290W Vd-Series multicrystalline module utilizes advanced silicon ingot casting techniques commercialized internally along with the expansion of Suntech's internal silicon wafer production capacity. With this enhanced product, Suntech has successfully commercialized a laboratory silicon casting technology that produces high-quality multicrystalline wafers using modified multicrystalline casting equipment. In addition to higher power output, the technology achieves lower oxygen content for multicrystalline wafers leading to strong resistance to light-induced degradation.
The 72-cell multicrystalline product comes with Suntech's industry-leading 25-year power output warranty, with 0/+5% positive power tolerance, that warrants 6.7% more power than the standard industry warranty. In addition, the modules are built to withstand all weather conditions including 3,800 N/m2 (~270 km/h) wind load and 5,400 N/m2 (~55 kg/m2) snow loads, above IEC standard requirements. The product meets or exceeds UL1703, IEC 61215, and IEC 61730 standards.
"Backed by Suntech's industry-leading warranty, the new Suntech 290W multicrystalline module achieves higher conversion efficiencies compared to conventional multicrystalline wafers," said Dr. Stuart Wenham. "Our Vd-Series multicrystalline module has been one of our best-selling products for many years, and these are the types of incremental innovations that empower our customers to achieve a lower levelized cost of electricity."
Both of Suntech America's new products will be on public display for the first time at Intersolar San Francisco, at Suntech's Booth #8722, from July 12th to July 14th.