First Solar sets world record for solar PV efficiencyWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
First Solar, Inc. announced Jan. 17 that it set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar module efficiency, achieving 14.4 percent total area efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National renewable Energy Lab confirmed the record, which eclipsed the prior record of 13.4 percent also set by First Solar.
The record performance was announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi by First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer Dave Eaglesham, just six months after the company set the world record for CdTe solar cell efficiency with a mark of 17.3 percent.
Both the cell and module record setters were constructed using commercial scale manufacturing equipment and materials at First Solar’s production facility in Perrysburg. The company employs more than 1,000 workers at the Perrysburg location.
Cell efficiency measures the proportion of light converted to energy in a single cell, while total area module efficiency measures the light conversion across a production-size, multi-cell solar module, providing a more realistic assessment of real-world performance than cell or aperture-area efficiency, according to First Solar.
“This considerable achievement supports our module efficiency roadmap and demonstrates our ability to convert our record-cell technology into ongoing module-level improvements,” Eaglesham stated in the announcement.
“These records also underscore the tremendous ongoing potential of CdTe compared to silicon-based technologies,” he stated.
First Solar has produced more than 5 GW of its advanced thin-film modules utilizing a continuous manufacturing process which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours. That process contributes to the company’s industry-leading energy payback time and the low carbon footprint of systems using First Solar PV modules.
“Our continuous investment in R&D has enabled the steady progress of our technology, punctuated by landmark achievements such as this,” stated Mike Ahearn, chairman and interim CEO of First Solar. “Our consistent progress gives us confidence in our ability to achieve our roadmap goals, drive down costs and develop sustainable markets.”
First Solar announced in December that the company was reducing its total workforce by 100 associates or about 1.5 percent. Only a small number of associates at the Perrysburg location were expected to be affected, according to a company spokesperson.
First Solar stock (NASDAQ: FSLR) has suffered a significant loss in value over the past year from a high of $175 per share to a low of $29.87. The stock was listed at $40 per share at close of the market Jan. 17.
First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology, and is a leading provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions.