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Suntech Power (NYSE:STP), the leading producer of solar panels, expanded its product range in the U.S. with the launch of two high-performance solar panel products last week. The new offerings deliver higher power outputs and reduced levelized cost for customers, and reinforce Suntech’s commitment to differentiate its products on the basis of superior technology. [1] Suntech competes with other solar players such as First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK), SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWRA), ReneSola Ltd (NYSE:SOL) and STR Holdings (NYSE:STRI).

We have a $10.65 price estimate for Suntech Power, which is at a 40% premium to its current market price.

R&D activity driving better products from Suntech

Suntech more than doubled its R&D spending from 2008 to 2010 to develop superior, high performance products across customer segments. Its latest offering, HiPerforma 245W, makes use of Suntech’s Pluto technology to boost efficiency by almost 10% over traditional screen printed solar cells. [1]

This announcement also marks Suntech’s long awaited ability to produce the Pluto cell on a large scale allowing it to market its high-end module range in markets such as the US. Suntech plans to have 450 megawatts (MW) of capacity for Pluto cells by the end of this year compared to an overall capacity of 2.4 gigawatts (GW). [2]

The solar cell manufacturer also launched another product, the 290W Vd-Series multicrystalline module that boasts of higher efficiencies as well as of slower degradation.

Both products come with Suntech’s best-in-industry 25-year power output warranty that promises customers 6.7% more power generation than the standard industry warranty. We believe that a combination of top-class products and warranty promises will help Suntech triple its 2010 sales figure over the next 5 years.

Chart created by using Trefis' app

The U.S. is becoming an attractive market

Strong growth in demand for solar modules is making the U.S. an attractive market for solar modules. Traditionally European countries such as Germany, Spain and Italy have held the dominant position in this space. However, with government support for renewable energy projects in Europe expected to weaken in the future, solar companies are turning to the U.S. and China to drive demand for solar panels.

China leads the world as the most attractive destination for projects in renewable energy according to E&Y. [3] The U.S. stands second with the government actively supporting clean energy projects.

Notes:

  1. Suntech Launches Two High-Performance Solar Products in the Americas, PRNewsWire
  2. Suntech’s Bid To Outshine Solar Rivals In Cost and Performance, Forbes Green tech
  3. China Widens Lead Over U.S. in Renewable Energy Ranking by Ernst & Young, Bloomberg

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Suntech's High Performance Panels Help Propel Shares