Clean Power

Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Cynthia Shahan


First Solar Pre-Engineered Solar Power Plant Solution Launches Today

June 4th, 2014 by  

first-solar-sets-solar-cell-recordA recent press release from First Solar explains the launch of a new pre-engineered power plant solution from the solar leader. Specifically, it’s the modular AC Power Block™ solar power plant solution. First Solar is also launching today its next generation First Solar Series 4™ thin film photovoltaic (PV) module. The company will showcase these and other solutions at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany, from June 4th to 6th.

The new spin on the First Solar Series 4™ thin film photovoltaic (PV) module is “enhanced reliable output.” The new module “offers up to eight percent more energy than conventional crystalline silicon modules with the same power rating, and is compatible with advanced 1500-volt plant architectures.”

The recent First Solar press release continues with more information on each of the new products:

Purpose-built for power plant owners and developers seeking to minimize project risk and maximize energy production and revenue, the AC Power Block is a configurable system solution that can be scaled to address a wide range of project conditions. The pre-engineered system is available in modular units ranging from 800 kilowatts (kW) to 3.8 megawatts (MW). Based on First Solar’s proven PV plant design and energy prediction model, the AC Power Block is backed by an industry-leading first year energy performance guarantee and a 25-year capacity warranty.

First Solar’s new Series 4 PV module offers up to eight percent more energy than conventional crystalline silicon modules with the same power rating, and is compatible with advanced 1500-volt plant architectures. The Series 4A™ variant features a new anti-reflective coated glass, which enhances energy production. The module is backed by First Solar’s 25-year Linear Performance Warranty.

“The underlying principle behind these new offerings and our existing power systems portfolio is an unwavering focus on a goal that we share with our customers in Europe and around the world: reliable generation of solar energy that is competitive within the framework of the region’s energy generation portfolio,” said Christopher Burghardt, Vice President for Europe at First Solar. “Showcasing our industry-leading range of solutions at the region’s premier solar energy exhibition underscores the market’s importance to our growth strategy.”

For many, especially the novice, the solar PV market is misunderstood. “One of the most misunderstood aspects of the solar PV phenomenon over the past 5 years is the idea that it has been that it has been driven entirely by surplus capacity from China, and little else. Defenders of fossil fuel generation will tell you that the cost reductions are a mirage, and will solar module prices will likely rebound as the market comes into balance,” Giles Parkinson writes.

“They are in for a nasty shock.”

Giles aptly notes that efficiency improvements have also been key to these cost reductions. First Solar has been a leader in this respect, as well as many others. In fact, First Solar is a US-based (not China-based) solar company that has remained one of the world’s top 10 solar module manufacturers despite the growth of the Chinese manufacturing market.

Solar costs continue to come down even now that supply and demand better match. The solar market is going to keep growing fast. And First Solar is likely to remain a top player.

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is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • JamesWimberley

    First Solar claims “up to eight percent more energy than conventional crystalline silicon modules with the same power rating”. The mechanism seems to be an anti-reflective coating that improves wide-angle collection.

    The issue is important. Cell efficiency is defined in terms of perpendicular irradiance from a standard source. In real operation, light strikes panels at all angles from 90 down to zero, The standard efficiency metric does not capture this. PvWatts uses a standard derating curve (link, page 4), and so fails to capture possibly significant differences between modules. You can of course calculate an annual power estimate for a given location, as FirstSolar is doing here. We also need a better shorthand metric, perhaps the derate at 60 degrees. The PvWatts formula gives this as 50%, so better designs will achieve lower.

    • Omega Centauri

      Also the standard rating is for a cell temperature of 25C, which is unlikely in full sun. Performance of most cSi degrades at roughly .5% per degree C. If you assume an operating temp of 50C that is a 12.5% drop. I don’t know the figure for CdTe, but I think its around half that.

      • Casey Schuyler

        That is where the 8% is from. Especially since these thin film modules are not conducive for roof installations (energy density concerns), they generally are installed in remote dry and hot conditions. The derate on the cell temp is much more stable in CdTe. Since the same Si module is “Rated” at STC (1000W/m2 @ 25*C) the increased cell temp does not affect the Vmp as much.

  • tibi stibi

    shop prices have been stable for a year or even more, i hope this will change soon!

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