BP Solar said Monday it has achieved a world record in solar cell efficiency for a 125mm size cell – 18.3 percent. The company said the efficiency claim was verified by the Fraunhofer Institut Solare Energiesysteme in Germany.Baltimore, Maryland – March 25, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The 18.3 percent efficiency represents an 11 percent improvement over the 16.5 percent efficiency currently available with Saturn solar cells. Researchers at BP Solar’s Technology Center in Sunbury, UK developed the 18.3 percent efficiency cell. Saturn Laser Grooved Buried Grid technology has been in manufacture for 10 years and is one of the crystalline technologies manufactured at BP Solar. Improved efficiency remains the underlying foundation for future BP Solar production of premium solar cells. This new technology will form the basis for the new BP Solar Tres Cantos facility in Madrid, Spain, as well as underpinning efficiency improvements at the existing Alcobendas facility near Madrid. The US$150million Tres Cantos manufacturing facility in Spain has an expected output of 60 MW that will serve professional and residential markets. “BP Solar continues to demonstrate innovative ways to improve technology that benefits the industry by paving the way toward improved products delivering lower costs to our customers,” said John Mogford, BP group vice president, Renewables and Alternatives. “BP Solar is proud of this world record and will work hard to bring it to production, but it is not the only efficiency improvement on which we are working. Customers can expect to see the next generation of Saturn laser-grooved technology in the near term.” BP Solar is one of the world’s largest solar companies with global market share of nearly 20 percent. BP solar has manufacturing facilities in the US, Spain, India, and Australia. Its headquarters are located in Linthicum, Maryland.