SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), manufacturer of the world's highest efficiency, commercially available solar cells and solar panels, today announced its newest solar panel, offering significantly higher power output and conversion efficiency than its current products. The new SPR-315 solar panel utilizes the company's newly developed 22-percent-efficient Gen 2 solar cells and carries a rated power output of 315 Watts. Improved panel efficiency was obtained through a combination of enhanced cell architecture and improved packing density.
"The new SPR-315 solar panel enables our customers to generate more power with fewer panels - maximizing energy production while reducing installation cost. A typical 4 kilowatt (AC rating) solar system requires 30 conventional 160 watt panels and covers 410 square feet of roof space. Our new SPR 315 panels produce an equivalent amount of power using only 15 solar panels on 265 square feet." said Peter Aschenbrenner, vice president of marketing and sales.
According to a paper presented in September 2006:
SunPower’s next generation solar cell is targeted at 22.4% efficiency on 170um wafers, which will bring polysilicon consumption to less than 6 g/W.
SunPower solar cells are unique because the metal contacts needed to collect and conduct electricity are on the back surface of the solar cells – away from the sunlight. This design eliminates reflective metal contacts on the front of the solar cell. In addition to improving cell performance, this design leaves the front surface with a uniformly black appearance. SunPower solar cells are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility outside of Manila capable of producing 75 megawatts per year. This facility has space for approximately 100 megawatts per year of production. Cypress Semiconductor Corporation has a majority interest in SunPower.