Suntech has logged another world record for its Pluto cell technology with a SERIS-verified 20.3% cell efficiency. The figure was achieved on a production cell using standard commercial-grade p-type silicon wafers, and was developed by the company’s R&D team in collaboration with the University of New South Wales. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, or SERIS, independently confirmed the 20.3% efficiency, which marks a big step up from the 19.6% cell efficiency gained with the first-generation Pluto cell technology.

Further optimization of the cell and processes could see the cell efficiency rise to 21.0% in the next six to 12 months, according to the company. The company will now shift its focus to the commercialization of the improved Pluto cell technology.  

However, it remains to be seen how long it will take these production cells to enter commercial availability. Suntech’s STP200S and STP195S modules yield 15.7% module efficiency, compared to SunPower’s 96-cell E20 modules – the industry's first commercially-available solar panels to achieve total area efficiencies of 20% and above. Similarly, Sanyo’s HIT modules have an efficiency of 18.6%.