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SunPower Sets Solar Cell Efficiency Record at 24.2%

SunPower Corp. has produced a full-scale solar cell with a sunlight to electricity conversion efficiency of 24.2 percent at its manufacturing plant in the Philippines. This is a new world record for large area silicon wafers, and has been confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

"This new world record demonstrates SunPower's ability to extend our lead in manufacturing the world's highest efficiency solar cells," said Bill Mulligan, vice president of technology and development for SunPower. "Our patented and proprietary, high-efficiency solar cell technology drives down the cost of solar energy by increasing the energy production from each solar panel."

Improved cell efficiency reduces the levelized cost of energy by increasing the energy production from each wafer manufactured into a SunPower solar cell. For the same reason, increased efficiency reduces the cost per watt and cost per kilowatt-hour for feedstock and materials, depreciation and other manufacturing expenses, installation time, land and system operations, and related maintenance.

SunPower also announced that has reached a deal with French retailer Casino Group for the supply of 20 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic panels for solar power installations on Casino Group properties in mainland France. The agreement, which builds on a similar 15-MW agreement between the two companies last year, will enable Casino Group to turn under-utilized roof space and parking area into power plants to produce renewable electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"We are delighted to partner with Casino to further expand their use of solar power in France, increasing their total commitment to more than 35 megawatts. We are confident that, with SunPower's proven performance and reliability, Casino and GreenYellow will continue to achieve considerable return on investment over the 25-to-30-year lifetime of the solar panels," said Howard Wenger, president, utility and power plants, for SunPower.

SunPower will supply Casino with its SunPower E19 Series solar panels. The combined 35 megawatt agreement will result in solar power systems at 18 of the company's properties, on rooftops and parking lots. Casino Group includes 11,000 stores in 9 countries making it one of the largest French retail networks, and consists of more than 20 different brands of stores.

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