First Solar, Inc. set a record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) research cell conversion efficiency, achieving 22.1 percent efficiency certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The achievement confirms that First Solar is on pace with its established research cell roadmap, and validates CdTe’s growing competitive advantage over multi-crystalline silicon technology and other commercial thin film PV.
Conversion efficiency of CdTe is one of several factors that translate to superior performance of First Solar’s technology in the field, which have a proven specific energy yield advantage, delivering more usable energy per nameplate watt than conventional c-Si modules
The company’s commercial line of solar cells has reached an energy conversion efficiency of 16.4 percent.
The theoretical efficiency limit for cadmium telluride cells is above 30 percent—significantly higher than that of conventional silicon. (Today’s commodity silicon-based solar panels have efficiencies between 16 and 18 percent; their theoretical limit is thought to be well below 30 percent.)