As new conversion efficiency world-record for a full-size, thin-film solar module of 18.6% (aperture area efficiency) has been set by First Solar, according to a new press release.
The new cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) module module marks the first time that the company has shown-off a module that outperforms “the best multi-crystalline module recorded.”
It should be noted that the 18.6% aperture area conversion efficiency relates to a full-area conversion efficiency of 18.2% — thereby notably surpassing the “best recorded multi-crystalline Si PERC module with an approximate full-area efficiency of 17.7% (based on 19.1% aperture efficiency and published module area data).”
The new world-record conversion efficiency has been verified and certified by officials from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
This new record follows on First Solar’s recent (back in January) reveal of a CdTe research cell with a conversion efficiency of 21.5%, as verified by NREL as well.
“First Solar’s CdTe thin film is now rightly categorized as a high performance product,” stated Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “At one time, we might have been characterized as a low cost, low efficiency technology, but consistent with our technology projections we are now proving that CdTe thin film delivers both industry-leading performance AND sustainable thin-film cost structures.”
Commenting on the company’s aggressive investment into research and development over the past few years, Garabedian noted: “While silicon technologies have approached their theoretical efficiency entitlement and leveled out in terms of performance and cost, First Solar continues to harvest the upside available from its superior thin film technology. Our CdTe modules are now more efficient than the best multi-crystalline Si modules, and we still have a great deal of technology head room for further innovation.”
Image Credit: First Solar
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