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26 February 2014

First Solar raises CdTe solar cell efficiency record to 20.4%, matching multi-crystalline silicon record

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, has set a record for CdTe solar cell conversion efficiency of 20.4%, as certified at Newport Corp’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab and confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The record cell was fabricated at First Solar’s factory and Research & Development Center in Perrysburg, OH.

The certified result beats the previous record of 19.6% conversion efficiency set by GE Global Research in 2013 (after First Solar previously raised the record to 18.7% in the February). Last April a solar technology partnership was announced in which First Solar acquired GE’s CdTe solar intellectual property and secured a collaborative research partnership with GE’s R&D team. The partnership was formed to accelerate innovation in PV technology and accelerate solar module performance at manufacturing scale.

“We are demonstrating improvement in CdTe PV performance at a rate that dramatically outstrips the trajectory of conventional silicon technologies, which have already plateaued near their ultimate entitlements,” says First Solar’s chief technology officer Raffi Garabedian. The new CdTe research cell conversion efficiency matches the research cell efficiency record of multi-crystalline silicon. “The synergy realized in our partnership with GE also demonstrates the value of our consistent and strong investment in R&D,” he adds. “The advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell are already being commercialized and will positively impact performance of our future production modules and power plants.”

First Solar says that it has continued to transfer its results in the R&D lab into its commercial modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 13.4% in fourth-quarter 2013, up 0.6% from 12.9% in fourth-quarter 2012. At the end of 2013, the firm’s lead manufacturing line was producing modules with 13.9% average efficiency.  

See related items:

First Solar and GE announce technology and commercial partnership to speed CdTe PV module development

First Solar sets 18.7% record for CdTe solar cell efficiency

First Solar raises CdTe PV cell efficiency record from 16.7% to 17.3%

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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