First Solar announces it’s set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV solar cell conversion efficiency. The company achieved a 20.4% conversion efficiency confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV solar cell conversion efficiency. The company achieved a 20.4% conversion efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory and Research & Development Center.
This certified result bests the previous record of 19.6 percent conversion efficiency set by GE Global Research in 2013.
Last April, First Solar and GE announced a solar technology partnership in which First Solar acquired GE’s CdTe solar intellectual property and formed a collaborative research partnership with GE’s R&D team. The partnership was formed to accelerate innovation in PV technology and accelerate solar module performance at manufacturing scale.
“This record marks another achievement in our mission to unlock the industry-changing potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are demonstrating improvement in CdTe PV performance at a rate that dramatically outstrips the trajectory of conventional silicon technologies, which have already plateaued near their ultimate entitlements. The synergy realized in our partnership with GE also demonstrates the value of our consistent and strong investment in R&D. The advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell are already being commercialized and will positively impact performance of our future production modules and power plants.”
First Solar’s new CdTe research cell conversion efficiency is comparable to the research cell efficiency record of multicrystalline silicon (multi-Si), another technology used in the PV solar market. Recently, JA Solar announced that its multi-Si solar cells have surpassed a 19% conversion efficiency.
JA Solar expects its modules to be available commercially soon, and First Solar is also transferring its success in the R&D lab into its commercial modules. The company increased its average production module efficiency to 13.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 0.6% from 12.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 13.9% average efficiency at the end of 2013.