Suntech Provides Update on 18% ‘Semiconductor Finger’ Technology

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. announced that the commercial adoption of its latest 18% “semiconductor finger” conversion-efficiency technology is on schedule and that the performance of this technology has exceeded the company’s expectations with respect to lower-grade and poor quality silicon wafers.

“We are very pleased with our semiconductor finger technology which has increased the average conversion efficiencies of our best monocrystalline PV cells to 18% — well above the industry average of 14% to 15%,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s chairman and CEO. “At the same time, we have maintained the lowest cost production base relative to our peers.” The company’s semiconductor finger technology, which is co-developed and owned with the University of New South Wales in Australia, overcomes the limitation of the traditional screen-printing process that is the current industry standard. Heavily doped semiconductor strips are built into the PV cell surface that more efficiently collects the generated electrical charge without requiring the surface dead layer found in conventional screen printed cells. This technology also potentially enables the company to reduce the number of traditional lines of metal contact strips on the top surface of the PV cell, thereby reducing shading from the sun to enable the PV cell to generate even greater watts of electricity.
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