First Solar CdTe cell sets efficiency record

First Solar set a cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar cell efficiency record of 17.3% with a test cell fabbed with commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials.

July 26, 2011 – BUSINESS WIRE — First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:FSLR) set a cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar cell efficiency record of 17.3% with a test cell fabbed with commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials. The test cell’s performance was confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

First Solar panels grew from 10.9% efficiency in Q2 2009 to 11.2% efficiency in Q2 2010; the average efficiency of First Solar modules produced in Q1 2011 was 11.7%. The company has recorded full-module efficiencies over 13.5%, with a 13.4% module confirmed by NREL. First Solar has invested in solar cell and balance of systems (BOS) R&D to acheive these numbers, the company stated. First Solar’s module efficiency roadmap sets a goal for production-module efficiencies of 13.5-14.5% by the end of 2014.

Crystalline silicon solar module efficiencies top out at 19.60% in commercially produced modules, according to the latest report by Solarplaza. Check out their top-10 most efficient c-Si solar modules here. Less-efficient thin-film solar panels do have advantages, however, in cost, application, and environment situations. Also read: How thin film solar fares vs crystalline silicon.

First Solar uses a continuous manufacturing process to fab a solar module onto a sheet of glass in less than 2.5 hours. 90% of a FSLR PV module can be recycled into new products by the company.

First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology, and is a premier provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions. To learn more, visit www.firstsolar.com.

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