First Solar Achieves New Conversion Efficiency World Record For CdTe Solar PV Cells

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Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon


A new conversion efficiency world record for cadmium-telluride solar photovoltaic cells has been achieved by First Solar, according to a press release published a few hours ago. The new world record conversion efficiency of 22.1% was certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center PV Lab.

The achievement of the new record means that First Solar, a 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist (Panasonic was the winner in that Large Corporation category), is still on track with its research roadmap — which projected the achievement of a 22% conversion efficiency by the end of 2015.

The new record-holding cadmium-telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar cell was created at First Solar’s Perrysburg, Ohio, manufacturing factory and Research & Development Center, utilizing only materials and processes suitable for mass production (commercial-scale production).

The achievement of the new conversion efficiency record marks the 9th “substantial update to CdTe record efficiency” since the year 2011.

“We are tracking very closely to a technology roadmap we first presented in 2013 and revised upward in March 2014,” stated Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

“At that time, we said we’d hit a 22% research cell efficiency milestone by the end of 2015. We’ve delivered on that promise. The accomplishment validates our continued confidence in CdTe as a superior photovoltaic (PV) material that combines cost effectiveness, reliability and high performance. In recent years and based on our research cell progress, we’ve improved the efficiency and energy density of our mass produced commercial PV modules at a rate at least 3 times faster than our multi-crystalline silicon (Si) competitors. We fully expect to further separate ourselves from the pack in coming years.”

The new record has already been documented in the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research-Cell Efficiencies” reference chart. (SunPower’s new record for commercial solar PV panels is not in that chart.)

For more on First Solar’s thin-film PV advantage, watch this video:

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