Suntech, Silex & UNSW To Research Efficiency

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Silex Solar said this week that the three groups plan to research advanced technology to further improve the power conversion efficiencies of crystalline silicon solar cells.

The three-year collaborative research project today received an AU $5 million grant from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI), the largest award given to any of the 87 grant applicants in the ASI’s first competitive funding call.

“The ASI, through funding from the Australian Commonwealth Government, invests in Australian research innovation that aims to reduce the costs of solar energy. We are pleased to support the world-renowned team at UNSW in collaboration with its industry partners Suntech and Silex Solar through this ground-breaking project,” said Mark Twidell, ASI’s executive director.

In addition to the research grant from the ASI, both Silex Solar and Suntech will contribute more than AU $6 million in direct funding and in-kind research resources over the next three years to support research operations.

The research project will focus on the development of advanced solar cell device designs and innovative high volume cell manufacturing processes to achieve significant performance improvements and cost reduction breakthroughs. The research is expected to complement Suntech’s development of high-efficiency Pluto technology.

Suntech nearly doubled its R&D investments in 2009 to US $29 million, up from US $15 million in 2008. Globally, Suntech employs 380 full-time solar R&D engineers and professionals who work across China, Japan, Germany, the United States, and Australia. The company expects further R&D investment growth in the coming years, creating cutting-edge technology to advance the use of solar power everywhere under the sun.

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