Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world’s leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, has announced that it has beaten all previous records for multi-crystalline silicon module conversion efficiency, including its own record achieved in August. The new world record conversion efficiency (aperture area only) was measured at 16.53% by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE.
Suntech’s world record breaking multi-crystalline silicon module is powered by Pluto PV cells utilizing solar grade silicon with each PV cell having a conversion efficiency well over 17%. In August, Suntech surpassed the previous record of 15.5% set by Sandia National Labs 15 years ago. The latest record is well above previous records and is a reaffirmation that Suntech’s Pluto powered multi-crystalline modules have the highest conversion efficiency in the world.
“We are very pleased to announce that our Pluto technology has been recognized as the most efficient multi-crystalline silicon technology in the world,” said Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech’s Chief Technology Officer. “This shows that it is possible to combine both first class R&D and low cost manufacturing into a commercially viable business model that will bring clean alternative energy to the world’s growing energy demands.”
Dr. Martin Green, Research Director of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and member of the Progress in Photovoltaics Committee said, “The 16.53% conversion efficiency Suntech module has a clear margin over other multi-crystalline silicon photovoltaic technologies. It has set the new benchmark for the highest performance multi-crystalline module.”
Suntech brings utility-scale solar to China
Meanwhile, Suntech has announced completion and grid connection of the first 10 MW utility-scale solar power project in China. Located in Shizuishan, Ningxia Autonomous Region, the 10 MW ground mount solar system is the first phase of a 50 MW solar plant that is targeted to be completed by 2011 in conjunction with Suntech’s strategic partner, China Energy Conservation Investment Corporation (CECIC). In addition to supplying high quality solar modules for the system, Suntech designed, installed and managed the development of the solar system and holds a minority share of the project.
Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO said, ”Suntech is very pleased and honoured to play a leading role in the development of the first on-grid 10 MW solar PV power plant in China, which represents a major milestone in the development of China’s renewable energy industry. With closer cooperation between strategic energy investors, power developers and solution providers, I am confident that solar energy will become increasingly cost effective and achieve grid parity in many locations over the next few years.”
The 10 MW solar system, which was approved by the Ningxia Autonomous Region Development and Reform Commission in June, 2009, is powered by more than 37,000 Suntech solar panels and is projected to displace approximately 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Under a strategic agreement announced in 2009, Suntech and CECIC plan to focus on the development of further large scale on-grid solar projects, urban building integrated PV projects, rural off-grid solar projects, and wind-solar hybrid projects.