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New world record: thin-film cells reach 18.7% efficiency

This week, First Solar set a new world record for  cadmium-telluride thin-film solar cell conversion efficiency.

The 18.7 percent efficiency record was confirmed by tests at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The company says this result proves the viability of thin-film technology – which is still less efficient than traditional crystalline silicon PV technology – and the effectiveness of research & development investment.

First Solar's R&D team in Perrysburg, Ohio, set a new world record for CdTe solar cell efficiency, 18.7 percent, as certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Credit: Business Wire

“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.”

This efficiency enhancement has been passed on to the consumer, with the average module produced by First Solar having an efficiency of 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 12.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.


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