11 June 2012

First Solar collaborating with Intermolecular to accelerate PV roadmap

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA (the world's largest thin-film photovoltaic solar module maker) has announced a collaboration and licensing agreement with Intermolecular Inc of San Jose, CA, USA aimed at accelerating the efficiency roadmap for its cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) technology.

Under a newly signed collaborative development program, First Solar will leverage Intermolecular’s High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) platform in the development of its CdTe-based, thin film PV manufacturing technology. The program addresses new opportunities in certain critical materials and processes that may significantly influence the conversion efficiency of CdTe technology, reckons First Solar. Technical work is to be performed jointly at Intermolecular's San Jose facility and in First Solar's R&D labs.

“Further improving our world-record CdTe conversion efficiencies remains a strong lever to reduce the cost of solar energy,” says First Solar’s chief technology officer Raffi Garabedian. “We evaluated Intermolecular’s HPC platform and technical team in a trial collaboration, and this experience confirmed the suitability of the platform for our purposes,” he adds.

In January, First Solar raised its record for CdTe PV module total area efficiency from 13.4% to 14.4%. In July 2011, the firm set a record for CdTe PV cell efficiency of 17.3%. Both records were confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

“Leveraging our HPC platform to accelerate the PV roadmap is central to our mission at Intermolecular,” says Craig Hunter, Intermolecular’s senior VP of global sales & marketing. The collaboration with First Solar represents “tremendous validation of that proposition, particularly given the extensive technical due diligence the First Solar team conducted prior to entering into this agreement,” he adds.

Intermolecular says that its mission is to improve R&D efficiency in the semiconductor and clean-energy industries through collaborations that use its HPC platform, which allows R&D experimentation to be performed at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional methods.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.intermolecular.com

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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