Easy-fit solar panels come to Europe

US-based solar panel company Akeena Solar yesterday announced a major licensing deal with Suntech Power, which will see Akeena’s technology distributed in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Akeena's share price soared over 43 per cent on the news to $3.49 as share traders anticipated further distribution partnerships.

Akeena chief executive Barry Cinnamon said that China-based Suntech was attracted to the low cost of installation enabled by his company's flagship Andalay solar panels.

"Andalay improves on conventional solar panels by including built-in wiring, grounding and racking designed to provide maximum rooftop performance for consumers while minimising installation costs for solar system installers," he said.

"Moreover, an installed Andalay system uses 70 per cent fewer parts and requires 25 per cent fewer attachment points than traditional solar systems, meaning better long-term performance."

Len May, Suntech’s managing director for building-integrated photovoltaic products, predicted "significant demand" for the new panels outside the US, adding that Suntech is aiming for sales of over 10 megawatts of Andalay solar panels from the newly licensed regions this year.

The licensing deal builds on a previous agreement between the two companies under which Suntech manufactures Andalay panels.

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