SunPower Releases Most Efficient Solar Panel on the Market
SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWRA) has released its latest solar panel, the E20 series, which it says is the industry's first commercially available panel to achieve a total efficiency of 20% or more.
The E20 panels are comprised of 96 solar cells which have an industry leading 22.4% efficiency rating. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory has confirmed SunPower's results. The E20 series was developed by funding from the Department of Energy's Solar America Initiative four years ago.
Tom Werner, SunPower's CEO, said, "With the E20 series solar panels, SunPower has once again broken a world record for efficiency. SunPower consistently delivers the most efficient and reliable solar technology on the market." The panels will be available to European and Australian markets this year. SunPower plans to extend their availability to the United States and Asia in 2012.
Today's announcement builds on a what has been a very strong year for SunPower. At the end of April, oil giant Total S.A. agreed to purchase 60% of SunPower's controlling interest for roughly $1.4 billion. The company's stated the partnership would "shape the future of the solar industry." SunPower shares have risen more than 33% since the purchase.
However, even before Total entered the picture, SunPower's business was strong, as highlighted by the 25.6% increase in its stock value from the beginning of the year until prior to the announcement of the Total relationship.
In December 2010, SunPower signed a contract to supply the solar panels to Iberdrola's 20 MW solar project in Arizona. This was followed by the signing of a 48 MW supply deal with Toshiba in March, and an April announcement that the DOE would offer SunPower a $1.187 billion loan guarantee for the development of the 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch.
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