Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

First Solar’s Thin-Film Solar Panel Advantages (Exclusive Video)

I’m catching up on some videos I wanted to publish back in January following this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week*. This one below is a presentation of First Solar’s numerous advantages by Nick Strevel, Technical Sales Manager at First Solar. If you haven’t closely followed the solar PV industry for the past half decade, let me first provide a bit of industry context:

Thin-film solar PV panels (primarily from First Solar) were gaining in market share quickly a handful of years ago thanks to their lower cost. Then, crystalline silicon solar PV panel prices fell through the floor. First Solar’s business kept moving along, but the expected burst in market share was prevented (… or perhaps delayed).

As the video below shows, First Solar’s thin-film solar PV panels have been increasing in efficiency extremely fast in recent years while crystalline silicon solar PV panel efficiency has been sitting still. Furthermore, First Solar’s panels perform better in the field compared to their rated efficiency. In other words, First Solar may see a boost in market share before too long after all. We’ll see. In the end, it doesn’t come down to efficiency but cost.

Watch the video for more details on thin-film solar panel advantages, or check out the summary bullet points below it.

First Solar’s Thin-Film Solar Panel Advantages

  • Heat is tough on solar PV panels, but even more so on conventional crystalline silicon solar panels. First Solar’s thin-film solar panels lose less efficiency in high temperatures, often making them a better buy in hot climates like deserts where large solar farms are often sited. (Put in other words, a First Solar module with the same power output rating as a crystalline solar PV module actually provides more electricity in the field, and a lot more electricity in hot climates.)
  • Similarly, First Solar’s PV modules are reportedly at the higher end of the reliability spectrum.
  • First Solar uses a lot of automation to build its solar modules, bringing down cost and also ensuring quality consistency.
  • After trading places with GE for years on CdTe efficiency records for years, First Solar finally bought GE’s CdTe intellectual property.
  • The efficiency increase of CdTe efficiency in recent years is “unrivaled” in the solar PV industry.
  • The efficiency record of conventional multicrystalline silicon (20.4%) was set in 2004, and First Solar is now closing in on that record. (Monocrystalline silicon’s efficiency record was last set in 1999!)
  • Adjusted for the effect of heat on the solar modules, First Solar’s thin-film solar modules are generally as efficient as multicrystalline solar PV panels already.
  • First Solar’s module testing is intense.

Check out more news on First Solar, or head on over to First Solar’s website for more information.

*Full Disclosure: Masdar covered my transportation to and accommodation at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2014.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

First Solar has been around for, well, what seems like forever. It was founded in 1999, well before the solar boom took off and...

Clean Power

There are hundreds of solar power news stories a day. We can’t cover the vast majority of them. Below are a few top solar...

Clean Power

Silicon Ranch, a major US-based independent power producer, has obtained an extra 1.5 gigawatts of cutting-edge thin film solar modules from First Solar, Inc....

Clean Power

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $82 Million Investment to Increase Domestic Solar Manufacturing and Recycling, Strengthen the American Clean Energy Grid

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.