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First Solar Achieves Record Solar Module Efficiency

First Solar’s cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar module has surpassed its own record of 13.4% of total area efficiency by achieving a record value of 14.4%. This ground-breaking efficiency of the solar module was confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Lab of the U.S. Department of Energy.

First Solar associates hold the company's record breaking 14.4 percent efficient module, manufactured in Perrysburg, Ohio. (Photo: Business Wire)

First Solar announced a world-record efficiency value of 17.3% for its CdTe solar cell six months before. The company produces both its record-setting modules and cells at its plant located in Perrysburg, Ohio. Since total area module efficiency provides light conversion efficiency of a commercial-scale multi-cell solar module, it is the more practical measurement of actual performance when compared to the efficiency of aperture or cell.

First Solar’s continuous production process converts a glass sheet into a complete solar module in below 2.5 h. In December 2011, First Solar announced its updated module efficiency roadmap with goals to achieve average solar module efficiency of 14.5% to15% by the end of the fiscal year 2015. The company will continue to develop its record-setting solar modules and cells as part of the roadmap. The average solar module efficiency of the company increased from the 2010 value of 11.4% to the 2011 value of 11.7%. The company anticipates achieving a solar module efficiency of 12.7% in the Q4 of the fiscal year 2012.

According to the Chief Technology Officer at First Solar, Dave Eaglesham, these records emphasize the remarkable potential of CdTe technologies when compared to silicon technologies.


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