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Independently tested by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), Suntech’s ‘Pluto’ cell technology has been used in multi-crystalline silicon PV modules to set a new world record in this classification of 15.6% conversion efficiency. The previous record(15.5%) had been set 15 years ago by Sandia National Labs. Suntech’s Pluto cells have a conversion efficiency exceeding 17%. The company also noted that the new world record was set using the framed area, without which Suntech believes it would achieve a conversion efficiency of well over 16%.
"Improving the conversion efficiency of multi-crystalline silicon modules has proven particularly challenging and this is a very impressive achievement for such a large module from a commercial supplier,” noted Professor Martin Green, Research Director of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence at the University of New South Wales, I can confirm that the 15.6% multi-crystalline module result is the highest known conversion efficiency measured by a PIP-recognized test centre."
Suntech has had close association with the Australian research centre for many years.
The world record has been accepted by the scientific journal Progress in Photovoltaics (PIP).
Dr. Stuart Wenham, Suntech's Chief Technology Officer, said, "The fact that this module was produced on our commercial scale production lines using regular solar grade silicon is of particular note. The best news is that we believe there is still room for plenty more improvement in Pluto as we push the boundaries of technology development to bring more powerful and reliable solar products to market."
Suntech also said that it expects shipments of Pluto powered modules to reach between 10MW to 15MW in 2009.