First Solar's new NREL-verified record is a substantial increase over the prior record of 14.4 percent efficiency, which the company set in January 2012.
Separately, First Solar also set a record for CdTe open circuit voltage (VOC), a critical parameter for PV performance, reaching 903.2 millivolts (mV) in NREL-certified testing. This new record marks the first substantial increase in CdTe VOC in over a decade of international R&D. The new records come just six weeks after First Solar announced a new world record for CdTe solar cell efficiency of 18.7 percent.
"We are especially proud of this new efficiency record because the technology was created for production-scale implementation, as evidenced by our accelerated efficiency roadmaps," said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar's Chief Technology Officer.
First Solar also announced the launch of a new evolution of its Series 3 thin-film PV module platform, the Series 3 Black, which incorporates First Solar's latest advances in conversion efficiency as well as additional features to enhance its performance in utility-scale power plants.
Meanwhile, First Solar also announced that it is acquiring TetraSun, a solar photovoltaic (PV) technology startup which has developed a break-through cell architecture.