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First Solar reaches 14.4% efficiency with CdTe solar PV module

First Solar Inc has set a new record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar module efficiency, reaching a 14.4% total area efficiency.

By Kari Williamson

The US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has confirmed the result, which eclipsed First Solar's prior record of 13.4%.

The solar module was constructed using commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials at First Solar's Perrysburg, Ohio factory.

"This considerable achievement supports our module efficiency roadmap and demonstrates our ability to convert our record-cell technology into ongoing module-level improvements," says Dave Eaglesham, First Solar's Chief Technology Officer.

"These records also underscore the tremendous ongoing potential of CdTe compared to silicon-based technologies."

Updated efficiency roadmap

First Solar updated its solar module efficiency roadmap in December 2011 to the increased goal of 14.5-15% average efficiency for its production modules by the end of 2015.

The average efficiency of First Solar modules increased from 11.4% in 2010 to 11.7% in 2011, and is expected to reach 12.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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