Solar Cell Production Begins for Suniva

Suniva Inc., a manufacturer of high value monocrystalline silicon solar cells, today announced that in less than 12 months after the initial planning it successfully began production of solar cells on its new 32MWp line in Norcross, Georgia. The company simultaneously announced plans to install a second production line next year with twice the manufacturing capacity of its first, bringing total production capacity of the Norcross facility to 96MWp by the middle of 2009.

The newly completed 32MW line produces Suniva’s ARTisun™ solar cells, which are then delivered to module manufacturers to be assembled into some of the industry’s most efficient solar modules. Suniva currently sells solar cells produced at the Norcross facility under existing customer contracts with companies including Solon AG and Titan Energy Systems LTD., totaling more than USD$1B.

With the successful completion of its first line, Suniva concurrently announced plans to continue the partnership with centrotherm photovoltaics AG to design and integrate a second, larger production line at the Norcross facility. Both lines will use uniquely configured, centrotherm integrated equipment and Suniva’s patented fabrication techniques to produce high efficiency, low-cost monocrystalline silicon solar cells. Suniva plans for this first factory to eventually feature a total capacity of about 175 MWp by early 2010 and will provide many new high paying cleantech jobs.

“Suniva’s customized centrotherm production lines allow us to manufacture state-of-the-art solar cells while also keeping the flexibility to incorporate additional innovations in the future,” said John Baumstark, CEO for Suniva. “Partnering with industry leader centrotherm photovoltaics allows us to quickly and responsibly scale to meet our existing contracts and future market demand.”

Suniva’s manufacturing technique, which was developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s University Center of Excellence for Photovoltaics (UCEP), optimizes a number of manufacturing steps in solar cell production, yielding one of the industry’s most efficient solar cells. The company founder, Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi was recently named one of “the top 5 most influential players in renewable energy” globally by Institutional Investor News.

Earlier this year, Suniva produced solar cells in the lab with over 20 percent conversion efficiency, verified by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), a world record for low-cost screen-printed solar cells. Ultimately, Suniva’s approach will drive down the cost of solar energy to match that of fossil fuel-based energy.

“As an equipment supplier to Suniva, we quickly recognized the company’s potential for providing leading solar cell technology and are proud to join forces in striving towards grid parity,” said Dr. Peter Fath, CTO of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. “Today’s announcement of Suniva’s second centrotherm production line positions our two companies as solid leaders of growth in US-based solar manufacturing.”

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