First Solar achieves efficiency record
Abu Dhabi, January 17, 2012
US-based First Solar today announced it set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar module efficiency.
It said it was able to achieve 14.4 percent total area efficiency. The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) confirmed the record, which eclipsed the prior record of 13.4 percent, which also was set by First Solar, a statement said.
The record performance, announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi by First Solar chief technology officer Dave Eaglesham, comes just six months after First Solar leapfrogged 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 the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory.
Cell efficiency measures the proportion of light converted to energy in a single solar cell, whereas total area module efficiency measures 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, it said.
“This considerable achievement supports our module efficiency roadmap and demonstrates our ability to convert our record-cell technology into ongoing module-level improvements,” said Eaglesham. “These records also underscore thetremendousongoing potential of CdTe compared to silicon-based technologies.”
First Solar, which has manufactured more than 5 GW of its advanced thin-film modules, utilizes a continuous manufacturing process which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours, which contributes to the company’s industry-leading energy payback time and the low carbon footprint of systems using First Solar PV modules, the statement said.
First Solar also implemented the industry’s first comprehensive, prefunded solar module collection and recycling program. Anyone wishing to dispose of First Solar modules can request collection at any time, at no additional cost, and First Solar will pick up the modules and recycle up to 90 per cent (by mass) of the material for use in new products, including new solar modules and new glass products, it said. - TradeArabia News Service