3 November 2011

First Solar postpones Vietnam factory commissioning

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has consolidated its manufacturing capacity plan and accelerated progress toward its module conversion efficiency and production throughput targets.

The firm is postponing commissioning of its Vietnam factory until global supply and demand dynamics support the additional capacity. First Solar will continue developing its factory in Mesa, AZ, in order to supply PV modules for its 2.7GW North American project pipeline, which includes the Agua Caliente, Desert Sunlight, Antelope Valley Solar Ranch and Topaz projects.

In third-quarter 2011, First Solar also began to implement technologies and processes derived from its R&D program that in July produced a record 17.3%-efficient CdTe solar cell, resulting in average module conversion efficiency of 12.4% from its best-performing production lines during the quarter. Average conversion efficiency for all production lines was 11.8%, up from 11.7% in Q2/2011.

First Solar also expects that continuous improvement programs in its production process, coupled with the efficiency gains, will increase its average manufacturing throughput to 70MW annually per production line by the end of 2012, up from 63.5MW per line in Q3/ 2011.

“Our achievements in R&D continue to showcase the long-term conversion efficiency potential and scalability of our advanced thin-film technology,” says chairman & interim CEO Mike Ahearn. “This consolidation will help us to balance our production with market demand, while still providing local capacity to supply our US project pipeline and the broader American market,” he adds.

See related items:

CdTe PV firm First Solar breaks ground on Vietnam factory

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

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