- 21.0 percent conversion efficiency research cell certified at Newport TAC Lab
- Performance exceeds longstanding mSi and latest CIGS records
- Company officials anticipate continued efficiency achievements
TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) research cell conversion efficiency, achieving 21.0 percent efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The record-setting cell was constructed at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio manufacturing factory and Research & Development Center, using processes and materials designed for commercial-scale manufacturing.
The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research Cell Efficiencies” reference chart.
This certified result bests the previous CdTe record of 20.4 percent conversion efficiency, which was set by First Solar in February of 2014, and represents the seventh substantial update to CdTe record efficiency since 2011. The achievement also places First Solar’s CdTe research cell efficiency above copper indium gallium diselenide based solar cells (CIGS) at 20.9 percent, and well above multicrystalline silicon (mSi), which peaked at 20.4 percent in 2004.
“We have just begun to reveal the true unrealized potential of CdTe PV,” said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our Advanced Research team continues to deliver extraordinary results by creating practical devices capable of commercial scale production. Not only have we have now demonstrated the highest single junction thin film cell on record, but just as important, our record cells are based on the same scalable manufacturing processes and commodity materials that we have proven through years of volume production.”
Garabedian noted that while competing technologies are using increasingly costly materials and cell processes in order to deliver moderate performance gains, First Solar is establishing a rapid path to industry-leading energy densities, while simultaneously improving manufacturing metrics.
“Our significant investment in development of CdTe thin-film technology has enabled a rapid rate of improvement and gives us tremendous confidence in the future,” said Markus Gloeckler, First Solar Vice President for Advanced Research. “We have made outstanding improvements in all aspects of our thin-film solar cells and are aggressively pursuing the commercialization of these advanced technologies in our product.”
At an analyst briefing last March, First Solar presented a technology roadmap anticipating a 22 percent research cell efficiency milestone in 2015. Today’s announcement indicates First Solar is steadily tracking to achieve that goal ahead of schedule.
First Solar has continued to transfer its success in the R&D lab into its commercially produced modules, increasing its average production module efficiency to 14.0 percent in the second quarter of 2014, up 0.5 percent from the first quarter of the year, and up 0.7 percent from FY2013. The company’s lead line was producing modules with 14.1 percent average efficiency at the end of the second quarter of 2014.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements, among other things, concerning: our business strategy, including anticipated trends and developments in and management plans for our business and the markets in which we operate; future financial results, operating results, revenues, gross margin, operating expenses, products, projected costs, warranties, solar module efficiency and balance of systems (“BoS”) cost reduction roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability and capital expenditures; our ability to continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; our ability to reduce the costs to construct photovoltaic (“PV”) solar power systems; research and development programs and our ability to improve the conversion efficiency of our solar modules; sales and marketing initiatives; and competition. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed in Item 1A: “Risk Factors,” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other reports filed with the SEC.