Suntech buys up 30% of US storage company Powin Energy, wins best-in-class panel rating

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China’s SF Suntech Inc. has snapped up a 30% share of U.S. energy storage firm Powin Energy in a deal that cost an initial $25 million. The Chinese solar panel giants have the option to purchase a further 30% stake in the company over the next two years for a further $37.5 million.

The move sees Suntech, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong wafer, cell and module manufacturer Shunfeng, sidle seamlessly into the U.S. solar storage market. Powin Energy specializes in grid-level and commercial energy storage systems, and boasts a varied portfolio of lithium-ion battery storage products, many of which are patented or have patents-pending.

Once the deal is finalized, Suntech will be permitted to appoint four out of seven directors on the Powin Energy board, entitling the company to make strategic business decisions.

A panel decision

There was more good news for Suntech emanating from the U.K. this week where independent engineering consultancy OST Energy announced that Suntech’s polycrystalline silicon modules rank above industry standards and are certifiably "best-in-class".

OST Energy also independently verified Suntech’s production facilities and found that they are in line with international lender requirements, such as those dictated by the OFC and World Bank.

"OST Energy is a well-respected independent engineering consultancy in the U.K. market and we are excited to see their positive review of the quality of our products and manufacturing facilities," said Suntech CEO Eric Luo. "These results further validate our commitment to our customers to provide modules of the highest quality and reliability in mass production and design."

Suntech had recently passed with aplomb another third-party verification of its products, receiving the VDE Quality-Tested certification that confirmed its modules exceed existing industry standards, becoming only the third brand globally to achieve this ranking.

Luo added: "With the backing of Shunfeng, we are in an even better financial position to continue to provide our customers with the highest quality products. More than 30 million Suntech panels can now be found in more than 80 countries, all of which will continue to enjoy the warranties documented in Suntech’s original sales agreement. That’s a commitment we publicly made shortly after our restructuring."