First Solar CdTe Thin Film Solar Cell Reaches 21 Percent Efficiency

First Solar, Inc. of Tempe, Arizona USA reports that its cadmium telluride thin-flm photovoltaic cell has set a world record for research cell conversion efficiency. The company reports that its thin-film CdTe  solar cell achieved 21.0 percent efficiency in the lab. The result was certified at the Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Center (TAC) PV Lab. The company fabricated the record-setting cell at its Perrysburg, Ohio producction facility and Research & Development Center. First Solar says it produced the cell using processes and materials intended for commercial-scale manufacturing.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) “Best Research Cell Efficiencies”reference chart lists the record. This certified result improves upon the CdTe record of 20.4 percent conversion efficiency, which Firs Solar set in February of 2014. The record also ranks First Solar’s CdTe research cell efficiency above that of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS)-based solar cells of 20.9 percent, and  above multicrystalline silicon (mSi), which peaked at 20.4 percent  efficiency in 2004.

Raffi Garabedian, First Solar’s Chief Technology Officer, stated, “Not only have we have now demonstrated the highest single junction thin film cell on record, but just as important, our record cells are based on the same scalable manufacturing processes and commodity materials that we have proven through years of volume production.”

Today’s announcement reveals that First Solar is steadily tracking to achieve its goal of reaching 22 percent research cell efficiency before the company’s technology roadmap predicted for 2015.