First Solar, a producer of solar modules utilizing advanced semiconductor technology, has declared the achievement of a new world record solar cell conversion efficiency.
It has broken the world record of 16.7% set in 2001 through its new cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar cell with an efficiency of 17.3%. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), of the U.S. Department of Energy has verified the performance of the test cell built utilizing business-scale solar module producing equipment and materials.
The company has improved the average cell efficiency of its solar modules from 11.1% in 2010 to 11.7% in the first quarter of 2011. The company has achieved an efficiency of 13.5% for its full solar modules and NREL has confirmed an efficiency of 13.4% for its modules. The company in its energy efficiency achieving road map has set a goal to achieve 13.5% to 14.5% efficiency by the end of the year 2014.
First Solar deploys a continuous production process, which enables the company to convert a sheet of glass into a full-fledged solar module in less than 2.5 hrs thus enabling improved energy payback time and reduced level of carbon footprint to the solar systems utilizing First Solar PV modules.
The company is also known for its first ever pre-financed old solar module collection and reusing facility, which enabled anyone looking forward to dispose their old First Solar modules to take the assistance of the company without making payment. The company recycled up to 90% of the mass materials from such collections for reusing in their new solar modules and other glass products.