It's another first for China's top solar company. Last year Suntech moved into the Number Two position among global photovoltaics manufacturers, and according to the analysts at iSupply, it's expected to take the Number One spot this year. That puts it ahead of its closest competitors, Japan's Sharp and Germany's Q Cells. In late August, Suntech announced that it had achieved a record-high conversion efficiencies in multicrystalline silicon PV of 15.6 percent, surpassing the 15.5 percent record set 15 years earlier by Sandia National Labs. Now Suntech has announced it will build a module manufacturing plant in Arizona, the first such factory to be erected by a Chinese company in the United States.
Relying on imported PV material from China, by being located near its markets the plant will economize on module shipping costs while--at the same time--helping the Chinese fend off concerns about export of U.S. jobs to their country.