From Green Right Now Reports

Suntech, the Chinese solar panel maker with operations in the US and Europe, has won the Gigaton Prize for helping reduce carbon emissions worldwide through its solar installations.

Suntech, the world’s largest producer of silicon solar modules, was recognized for helping its customers and business partners save on carbon-pollution by using solar power. The company passed a benchmark in October, having reached 5 gigawatts of installed solar power around the world, surpassing all competitors.

Suntech workers pose at the Birdsnest auditorium built for the Beijing Olympics

In addition to its grid-connected installations, Suntech has helped an estimated 1 million people who live in off-grid locations achieve access to electricity via solar panels, according to the Gigaton Prize judges.

The second annual Gigaton Awards, announced at a ceremony yesterday at the COP17 climate talks in Durban, South Africa, are jointly awarded by the Carbon War Room (founded by environmentalist gazillionaire Sir Richard Branson), The Gigaton Throwdown and the World Climate Summit. The awards recognize companies in energy and other sectors for achieving significant and demonstrable carbon emissions reductions.

The Gigaton Prize is the top Gigaton award.

No other company in the renewables space has accomplished as much, said Jigar Shah, CEO of the Carbon War Room, which helps entrepreneurs find market-driven solutions to climate change.  “This award recognizes Suntech’s pioneering spirit and commitment to a new energy future.”

“Suntech is honored to receive the prestigious Gigaton Prize, especially as world leaders are congregating for COP17 to discuss global initiatives around sustainability. The award reaffirms our commitment to the environment, and serves as an inspiration to other companies around the world to join us in our effort to build a sustainable future,” Suntech’s founder and CEO, Dr. Zhengrong Shi said in a statement.

Suntech, based in Wuxi, China, was founded in 2001 by scientist Zhengrong Shi and offered on the New York Stock Exchange starting in 2005. Its solar modules are installed in more than 80 countries served by regional headquarters in San Francisco, Schaffhausen, Switzerland and Wuxi, according to the company.

Five other companies were recognized with 2011 Gigaton awards in their respective sectors: Tesco, Philips, Schneider Electric, Swisscom and Centrica,