The record-setting cell was constructed at the Company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory and R&D center using processes and materials – including the glass substrate – that are designed for commercial-scale manufacturing.
“This achievement showcases the huge potential of CdTe compared to other PV technologies and highlights the performance gains we continue to achieve thanks to our consistent and strong investment in R&D,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are confident the advanced technologies and processes we developed for this record-setting cell will further enhance the performance of our future production modules and power plants.”
“With the solar energy sector in the Middle East set for systematic and strong growth in the coming years, the potential of First Solar Thin Film in this region in particular is unparalleled,” said Ahmed Nada, Vice President of Business Development for First Solar Middle East.
“Our advanced thin film technology yields superior energy output in desert regions while also having the twin benefits of being more economical and more efficient sources of alternative energy. We hope to be able to assist key regional stakeholders in sharing our technological expertise and providing solutions to the growing energy demand in the Middle East.”
First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercial modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 12.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 0.7 percentage points from 12.2% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The Company’s lead line was producing modules with 13.1% efficiency during the fourth quarter, up from 12.6% in the same period a year ago.
Since it began commercial production in 2002, First Solar has produced more than 90 million of its advanced thin-film solar modules with a capacity of over 7 gigawatts (GW), enough to provide clean electricity for approximately 3.5 million homes and displace 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 annually, based on world averages. If laid end-to-end, the modules would circle the equator nearly three times. First Solar utilizes a continuous manufacturing process which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2.5 hours, contributing to the industry-leading energy payback time and low carbon footprint of systems using First Solar PV modules.
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