SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, is now offering a 300 watt (W) solar module for commercial and utility-scale solar projects in North and South America. The new Ve-Series module, with 72 multicrystalline cells and 15.5% module efficiency, comes with an improved frame design as well as a 1000 volt (V) operational certification according to standards outlined by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the leading U.S.-based independent product safety certification organization. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120823/CN60345) "This new 300W module is what our customers have been asking for. The improved design will lower balance of system costs and generate a better levelized cost of electricity," said John Lefebvre, President of Suntech America. "Success in the PV module industry is all about manufacturing efficiency and incremental innovation, and this new product again demonstrates Suntech's ability to enhance our products year after year while continuing to reduce costs. Every penny of improvement makes solar power more attractive to investors, developers and utilities." The improved module design reduces frame thickness from 50mm to 40mm, providing a 2.6lb decrease in total module weight. The module is certified to withstand extreme wind (3,800 Pascal) and snow (5,400 Pascal) loads. This superior frame design reduces total shipping, handling and storage costs for Suntech and its customers, as a pallet of the new Ve-Series modules has 19% more power than a pallet of Suntech's older-generation Vd-Series modules. The lighter format also allows for more efficient module handling and installation, helping to reduce project labor costs. With the UL1000V certification, Suntech's 300W modules can be safely connected in longer string series than allowed by the earlier 600V industry standard. Ultimately, this improvement facilitates more efficient large-scale solar project designs and reduces balance of system (BOS) costs such as inverters, wiring and combiner boxes. There are currently several regions in the U.S. that require UL certification for utility-scale solar projects and this UL1000V certification allows system designers and installers to meet those requirements.