SunPower Achieves World Record Efficiency with Solar Cell

3/1/2004 - SunPower Corp., a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp., announced that its A-300 silicon solar cell had been measured at 21.5 percent efficiency by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. This efficiency result is a world record for large-area (five-inch) silicon solar cells.

SunPower’s A-300 solar cell was manufactured in the company’s Round Rock, Texas pilot line. SunPower’s revolutionary A-300 solar cells offer a significant efficiency improvement over currently available cells in the 12 to 15 percent range. Higher-efficiency solar cells provide solar power systems with more power-per-unit area and can provide users with significant cost savings. A-300 solar cells utilize a unique back-side contact design that maximizes working cell area, hides unsightly connection wires and enables high-speed automated module production.

“SunPower's advancements in developing highly-efficient solar cells and modules are commendable,” said Richard King, team leader for Photovoltaic R&D at the Department of Energy. “The achievement of a 21.5 percent efficient solar cell demonstrates that SunPower's unique back-side contact technology can be utilized to manufacture cost-effective products that improve the versatility of solar-electric power systems.”

“This efficiency world record constitutes an important milestone for SunPower and confirms the significant performance advantage of our product,” said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO. “This achievement demonstrates that SunPower’s leading-edge technology can be successfully implemented in a high-volume production process. The A-300 product allows us to offer our customers a combination of exceptional performance and competitive cost.”

The 125-mm, single-crystal A-300 cell generates three watts of electricity, providing the most efficient cost-per-watt solution in the photovoltaic (PV) industry. These cells can deliver more kilowatts per square meter, making these cells ideal for rooftop systems, communications, building-integrated PV systems and consumer applications.

About A-300
Unlike conventional solar cells, SunPower’s A-300 incorporates all electrical contacts on the back surface. This architecture allows for significantly higher conversion efficiency of light to electricity, and also eliminates unsightly reflective front-side contacts. With rated efficiency greater than 20 percent, the A-300 can deliver up to 50 percent more energy from a given roof area than traditional solar products.

The A-300 will be available in production quantities in the second half of 2004 from SunPower’s new manufacturing facility in the Philippines.

About SunPower
SunPower—a majority-owned subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY)—designs and manufactures high-performance silicon solar cells based on an interdigitated rear-contact design. SunPower’s latest A-300 solar cell achieves more than 20 percent efficiency, compared with currently available cells in the 12 to 15 percent range. The A-300 cell was developed and manufactured in SunPower’s Round Rock, Texas facility, which began operation in January 2003. The company’s initial products, introduced in 1992, were high-concentration solar cells with an efficiency of 26 percent. SunPower also manufactures a 22 percent efficient solar cell called Pegasus, which is the highest-efficiency non-concentrating silicon solar cell commercially available. An early application for the highly efficient and lightweight Pegasus solar cell was a high-altitude solar-powered aircraft. Pilotless solar-powered airplanes and blimps, which are nearing commercialization, can stay at a set altitude indefinitely and serve as telecommunications platforms over populated areas. SunPower solar cells were used on the NASA-sponsored AeroVironment airplane, “Helios,” that flew to a record altitude of 96,863 feet on August 13, 2001. For more information on SunPower or solar technology, please visit the SunPower website at

About Cypress
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) is Connecting From Last Mile to First MileTM with high-performance solutions for personal, network access, enterprise, metro switch and core communications-system applications. Cypress ConnectsTM using wireless, wireline, digital and optical transmission standards, including USB, Fibre Channel, SONET/SDH, Gigabit Ethernet and DWDM. Leveraging its process and system-level expertise, Cypress makes industry-leading physical layer devices, framers and network search engines, along with a broad portfolio of high-bandwidth memories, timing technology solutions and reconfigurable mixed-signal arrays. More information about Cypress is accessible online at

Cypress is a registered trademark of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. “Connecting from Last Mile to First Mile” and “Cypress Connects” are trademarks of Cypress.

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