By Christopher Martin and Justin Doom – Dec 20, 2011 3:21 PM MT
JA Solar Holdings Co. (JASO), the world’s largest solar-cell maker, jumped the most in three weeks after announcing a product that converts as much as 18.5 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity.
JA Solar’s American depositary receipts climbed 14 percent to $1.40 at the close in New York, the biggest increase since Nov. 30. It was the third-largest gain among the 37 companies in the Bloomberg Global Leaders Solar Index, which rose 4.4 percent today. The company’s ADRs have dropped 80 percent this year. Each ADR is worth one ordinary share of Shanghai-based JA Solar.
The company is producing Maple multicrystalline cells “in large volume production,” it said today in a statement. Maple’s conversion efficiency tops the industry average of 16.8 percent for multicrystalline cells, JA Solar said.
“It’s a nice milestone,” said Pavel Molchanov, an analyst for Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Houston. High-efficiency products “certainly have an advantage, everything else being equal. It’s definitely an important factor for residential rooftops.”
SunPower Corp., the second-largest U.S. panel manufacturer, makes the most efficient solar cells. Its products convert at least 22.4 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity and have reached 24.2 percent in lab tests, Helen Kendrick, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
Conversion rates matter more for residential projects, where efficient panels can generate more power in less space, than for large, utility-scale plants, Molchanov said. “If you’re building a solar farm in the Mojave Desert, saving a few acres of land is not going to be all that crucial.”
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