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Global Solar Leaders and UNEP Outline Central Role for Solar in Climate Solution at United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland

POZNAN, Poland, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Representatives from three leading international solar companies and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) -- Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO, Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chairman of Solarcentury, Mike Ahearn, Chairman and CEO of First Solar, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director -- gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland to propose the rapid implementation and expansion of policies designed to support the growth of the solar industry and the global adoption of solar technology as a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction in support of global climate goals.

The four representatives stated that solar technology is already a cost-effective alternative for generating electricity and countries world-wide should immediately revise energy development plans to include a higher proportion of this clean and sustainable energy source: "Solar technology is no longer a niche energy solution, but is already reaching the scale and cost points to fundamentally change the way we generate electricity. As a result of substantial investments over the past 5 years, the solar industry has dramatically improved solar technologies and established roadmaps for further cost reductions. In fact, electricity generated from solar installations is already reaching parity with peak energy and retail energy prices in many regions."

"Now is the time for world leaders, businesses and communities to build the platform for solar to be adopted on a much greater scale. This will not only improve energy autonomy, but also serve to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and deliver an economically viable solution to climate change. We believe that the global climate change deal agreed to in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 should include concrete targets and policies for a rapid transition to solar in the coming decades."

The group encouraged the adoption of a set of major climate and energy policies to enable solar to make a significant contribution toward GHG- reduction and economic-development goals, including:

    -- Stringent, ambitious, international and national carbon regulation
       policies;
    -- Enforceable renewables mandates with a solar carve out or credit
       multiplier for solar energy;
    -- Near-term incentives that could include feed-in tariffs, partial
       rebates, tax credits and/or property-based loans;
    -- And favorable net metering, interconnection, permitting and land-use
       policies.

Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Chairman and CEO of Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd, said: "At Suntech Power we are dedicated to reducing the cost of solar electricity to grid parity through increasing economies of scale, improving efficient utilization of raw materials such as silicon, and developing more advanced technology and new applications. We believe that clean technology can help us to combat climate change and simultaneously become a significant driver for new economic development."

He continued: "Setting addressable renewable energy targets, and specifically solar targets, is central to developing a stable market and motivating continuous investment. China has set ambitious, long-term national goals that have helped to create a backdrop for a growing renewable energy industry such as a national renewable energy standard of 15% by 2020; a commitment to invest USD180 billion in renewable energy by 2020; and aggressive energy efficiency standards for buildings. At the same time, China has incubated many solar companies, such as Suntech, and is now the third- largest source of solar PV products for the global market."

Jeremy Leggett, Executive Chairman of Solarcentury, said: "As a European leader in building-integrated solar, Solarcentury expects to see buildings routinely becoming power plants in the years ahead, generating all their own electricity and heating needs in situ, and often more than they need, making them net exporters of energy. With the right partners in the construction industry, we can put up zero-emissions buildings in a matter of weeks: not the years that conventional power plants require. We are seeing some excellent progress with European support, particularly with the incentive of strong feed-in tariffs, but we need very much more."

He continued: "When you consider that in Europe around half of all emissions come from buildings, directly and indirectly, you get a sense of how excited we are about our industry's ability to contribute in the fight against global warming. Solarcentury will be publishing a book next year presenting a vision of the future, and mapping the emerging solar revolution. We are calling it "The Solar Century," because that is what the twenty-first century has to be. We're proud to be doing this from the UK, not traditionally seen as the hub of solar power innovation. The future can be bright if governments understand the opportunities and help unleash the potential of solar."

Mike Ahearn, Chairman and CEO of First Solar, said: "The photovoltaic industry is much closer to generating affordable solar power than most people realize. In the last 4 years, First Solar has lowered the cost of manufacturing our modules by two-thirds and the company is now the world's largest manufacturer of thin film photovoltaic solar modules. Looking ahead to the next 2-4 years, First Solar will be in a position to produce power from the sun at costs competitive with conventional electricity generated from fossil fuels, paving the way for a large-scale transition to the cleaner energies we need to prevent irreversible damage to our planet."

He continued: "Led by California and New Jersey, over half of the states in the U.S. have adopted renewable portfolio standards, which together with favorable tax incentives and other policies, has emerged as an important driver in increasing solar power generation. President-elect Obama throughout his campaign and transition has consistently championed the imperative of enacting a new set of federal policies to enable a sustainable U.S. renewable energy industry. While acknowledging how quickly and how far solar technology and solar costs have improved, much work remains and we call on world leaders assembled in Poznan to adopt policies individually and collectively that allow PV to demonstrate its full potential."

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland is a key step on the road to establishing an effective global response to climate change at Copenhagen in December 2009. The conference, which runs from December 1 to December 12, 2008, is expected to host close to eleven thousand participants, including delegates from 186 Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) and representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions. The Parties to the UNFCC are expected to agree on a plan of action for the final year of negotiations about the commitments which will be undertaken in the Copenhagen agreement in 2009.

About Suntech

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is a world-leading solar energy company as measured by both production output and capacity of solar cells and modules. Suntech is passionate about improving the environment we live in and dedicated to developing advanced solar solutions that enable sustainable development. Suntech designs, develops, manufactures, and markets a variety of high-quality, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar products for electric power applications in the residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility sectors. Suntech offers one of the broadest ranges of BIPV products under the MSK Solar Design Line(TM). Suntech has sales offices worldwide and is a market share leader in key global solar markets. For more information, please visit http://www.suntech-power.com .

About Solarcentury

Solarcentury is one of Europe's leading solar energy companies, specialising in the design and supply of building integrated solar thermal and solar electric technology. Solarcentury is in business for a purpose: to help create a cleaner world and a sustainable future. The company offers support and guidance throughout the entire micro renewable planning and development process, from land appraisal through to design, installation and marketing.

Founded by Executive Chairman Jeremy Leggett in 1998, Solarcentury is based in London, with operations in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. It has installed over 600 solar systems including those on the Eden Project, Vauxhall Cross Bus Terminal and Europe's largest vertical solar facade on the CIS Tower, Manchester. Solarcentury has helped thousands of homes go solar through its network of associate installers and is the founding company of the schools initiative Solar4Schools.

In 2007 it was awarded an Ashden Award for its commitment to renewable energy by Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. In 2008, Solarcentury was named the UK's Fastest Growing Renewable Energy Company by The Sunday Times Tech Track 100. http://www.solarcentury.com

About First Solar

First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) is the largest thin film solar module manufacturer in the world. First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced thin film semiconductor process and provides comprehensive system solutions that significantly reduce solar electricity costs. By enabling clean, renewable electricity at affordable prices, First Solar provides an economic alternative to peak conventional electricity and the related fossil fuel dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and peak time grid constraints. First Solar has set the benchmark for environmentally responsible product life cycle management by introducing the industry's first comprehensive collection and recycling program for solar modules. From raw material sourcing through end of life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating cost-effective renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment. First Solar modules have the lowest life cycle environmental impact of current PV technologies. In addition, PV power plants generate electricity with no air emissions, no waste stream and no water use.

About UNEP

UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

    UNEP work encompasses:
    -- Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and
       trends
    -- Developing international and national environmental instruments
    -- Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
    -- Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable
       development
    -- Encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the
       private sector.

UNEP's global and cross-sectoral outlook is reflected in its organizational structure, its activities and is personnel. Being based in Africa gives UNEP a clear advantage in understanding the environmental issues facing the world's developing countries.

To ensure its global effectiveness UNEP supports six regional offices, plus a growing network of centres of excellence such as the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) centres and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). UNEP also has major offices in Geneva and Paris, where its Division of Technology, Industry and Economics is situated.

UNEP also hosts several environmental convention secretariats including the Ozone Secretariat and the Montreal Protocol's Multilateral Fund, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and a growing family of chemicals-related agreements, including the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the recently negotiated Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements constitute "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates" and similar statements, including the ability of solar companies to reduce cost and achieve grid parity, and the ability of solar to provide a cost-effective energy alternative and solution to climate change. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Suntech's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F. Suntech does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable law.

For further information about Suntech, please contact:

In China:
Rory Macpherson
Investor Relations Director
Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.
Tel: +86-21-6288-5574
Email: rory@suntech-power.com

In the United States:
Sanjay M. Hurry
Vice President
The Piacente Group, Inc.
Tel: +1-212-481-2050
Email: suntech@tpg-ir.com

For further information about Solarcentury, please contact:
Seb Berry, Head of Public Affairs
Tel: +44-7949-208-187
Email: seb.berry@solarcentury.com

Charlotte Webster, Public Relations
Tel: +44-7990-583-307
Email: charlotte.webster@solarcentury.com
Solarcentury
91-94 Lower Marsh
Waterloo, London, UK. SE1 7AB

For further information about First Solar, please contact:
Lisa Morse, Communications
Tel: +1-602-414-9361
Email: lmorse@firstsolar.com
Web: http://www.firstsolar.com

Photos available at http://firstsolar.com/media.php

For further information about UNEP, please contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media,
Mobile: +254-733-632755 or when traveling: +41-795-965-737
Email: nick.nuttall@unep.org