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Mar 12th, 2012
 
The race towards very high cell efficiencies continue…
 
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, announced that its industry-leading Pluto cell technology set a world record 20.3% efficiency for a production cell using standard commercial-grade p-type silicon wafers.
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  • Suntech reached the 20.3% efficiency on a solar cell based on Pluto technology
  • According to Suntech, the efficiency of 21% can be reached within the next 6-12 months
  • The industrial feasibility of the mass production must be yet shown

Developed by Suntech's research and technology development (R&D) team, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, the incremental innovation in Pluto cell technology underscores Suntech's investment in R&D that delivers the best solar technology to its customers at an affordable price. 

The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore has independently confirmed the 20.3% efficiency of the improved Pluto cell technology, a significant improvement over the 19.6% best cell efficiency of the first generation Pluto cell technology.  With further optimization, the efficiency of the improved Pluto cell technology is projected to reach 21.0% in the next 6 – 12 months.

One of the key improvements for the Pluto cell technology is the incorporation of similar high-efficiency characteristics of the record-holding PERL cell technology in the conventional Pluto cell manufacturing process. These act to improve the rear surface design of a conventional Pluto cell, primarily by reducing the metal/silicon interface area while keeping the remaining non-contacted area well-passivated. In addition, Suntech has introduced process changes that minimize the use of high temperatures which make it possible to apply the high efficiency processes to the most commonly used commercial wafers. 

Following the laboratory success of the improved Pluto cell technology, Suntech is now focusing on commercializing the technology. Suntech will advise when this technology is available in future releases of Suntech solar panels. 


 
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