Suntech's thin film module production will be based on technology that deposits amorphous and micro-crystalline silicon thin film on glass substrate. The product will use less than 2% of the silicon required to manufacture equivalent crystalline silicon PV products. Suntech currently projects that the thin film modules will have a solar conversion efficiency of 6% to 9% and an initial production cost of approximately $1.20 per watt (based on 6% solar conversion efficiency), which is forecasted to continue to decline as both production scale and conversion efficiencies increase. The thin film modules will be nearly 6 square meters in size, which would make the balance of system installation costs of Suntech's thin film solution significantly lower than other PV solutions.
"After having acquired MSK, one of the industry leaders in the building integrated photovoltaic products (BIPV) space, we were very pleased to see that there is both a strong and long term global sales market for these products, especially thin film PV modules. We plan to combine our thin film product with MSK's BIPV product thereby capturing a greater portion of the PV value chain in a higher margin, higher ASP and higher value added product segment," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi Suntech's Chairman and CEO.
Suntech recent letter of intent with U.S.-based Open Energy to further BIPV initiatives is intended to expand BIPV sales of each company which will be furthered by Suntech's thin film initiatives. As part of the collaboration, Suntech will manufacture Open Energy's SolarSave(R) PV Tiles and jointly promote BIPV products in the North American market.
Expect stiff competition from this rapidly growing producer. to reiterate from a recent post: Last year, China passed the United States to become the world’s third largest producer of the cells—trailing only Germany and Japan.