The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany has performed third party verification. The test results included a mono-crystalline Pluto PV cell with a conversion efficiency of 18.8% and a multi-crystalline Pluto PV cell with a conversion efficiency of 17.2%. Both PV cells were produced on Suntech's 34 MW Pluto production line with solar grade silicon wafers.
Dr Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO, says: “Pluto delivers on the key requirements of the solar industry – high efficiency, high stability, and high power output – without utilising higher grades of silicon.”
The patent-pending Pluto technology is based on the passivated emitter rear locally diffused (PERL) technology, developed by the University of New South Wales in Australia, which has achieved an efficiency of 25% in the laboratory.
Pluto could improve power output by approximately 12% above conventional screen-printed PV cells. Unique texturing technology, with lower reflectivity, ensures more sunlight can be absorbed throughout the day even without direct solar radiation, and thinner metal lines on the top surface reduces shading loss.
Suntech anticipates ongoing enhancement of the Pluto technology and targets to achieve 20% conversion efficiency on mono-crystalline PV cells and 18% on multi-crystalline PV cells within the next two years.
Suntech currently has a fully operational 34 MW Pluto PV cell line and targets to have a total of 100 MW installed Pluto capacity within the next two months.