First Solar hits 5 GW production milestone

17. November 2011 | Industry & Suppliers, Products, Research & Development | By:  Becky Stuart

Proving its thin film prowess, First Solar has announced its cumulative photovoltaic module production has reached five gigawatts (GW). It is the second solar company in the world to do so.

First Solar thin film CdTe solar photovoltaic modules

First Solar has produced 66 million thin film photovoltaic modules since 2002. Image: Solarpraxis/Jonathan Gifford.

In a year marred by negative news, it is cheering to see some positive stories filter their way through. And, while First Solar has recently had a tough time of it, after its CEO made his shock midday exit at the end of October, and the plans for its Vietnamese module plant were suspended, the company can definitely celebrate this milestone.

The thin film giant says that it has now manufactured 66 million photovoltaic modules using its cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film technology which, it explains, is enough to provide power to around 2.5 million homes. The news follows its announcement at the start of June, that it had reached four GW of cumulative module production.

Established in 2002, First Solar has grown to encompass 36 production lines on three continents. In July, it achieved a record CdTe cell conversion efficiency of 17.3 percent, which resulted in an average module conversion efficiency of 12.4 percent on its "best-performing" production lines.

Tymen DeJong, First Solar Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing, said, "Our ability to scale high-volume production has been a key factor in reducing the cost of renewable energy."

Just one month ago, crystalline silicon photovoltaic module manufacturer, Suntech, announced that it was the first solar manufacturer in the world to have produced five GW worth of modules.

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