Thin film CdTe solar cells to be 12% efficent in 2012 - First Solar
Arizona-based CdTe solar cell firm First Solar expects to hit 12% efficiency in its thin film cells in the next four years.
"We are currently on track to achieve our 2012 goal of 12% conversion efficiencies. This represents an increase of approximately 0.5% per year,"
spokesman David Erhart told Electronics Weekly. "In Q1 2008 our average efficiency was 10.6%."
The firm mass produces solar cells, with over 300MW of its PV modules installed worldwide at the end of 2007. It expects to ship between 420 and
460 MW this year.
Amongst other projects, it is providing cells for the largest PV power plant in the world: Germany's 40MW 'solar park' near Leipzig, currently with
25MW installed, and a 4.6MW rooftop installation, also in Germany.
Its latest contract is a 10MW plant in Nevada.
"We have more than 3.4GW contracted to our existing partners from 2008-2012 representing approximately E4.9bn," said Erhart. "Our customers
design and develop PV power plants utilising our modules and are active in Europe, Canada and the United States."
Products are made in Ohio, with other factories under construction. "First Solar will bring total expected capacity to more than 1GW by the end of
2009," it said.
Partly due to its low cycle time - 2.5 hours from sheet of glass to solar module - the firm claims to have the lowest manufacturing cost per watt in the
industry: $1.14/W (first quarter of 2008).
Claimed lifetime is long. "We offer a 25 year warranty for our solar modules," said Erhart. "We warrant the modules will produce at least 90% of their
power output rating during the first 10 years following their installation and at least 80% of their power output rating during the following 15 years."
The firm also operates an end-of-life collection scheme. "With the sale of each module, First Solar sets aside the funds required for the collection and
recycling in a restricted account controlled by a third-party insurance company," said First.