First Solar and Intermolecular announce joint program to accelerate PV roadmap11. June 2012 | By: First Solar
Collaboration will leverage Intermolecular's high productivity combinatorial platform towards achieving higher CdTe solar panel efficiencies.
First Solar, Inc. and Intermolecular, Inc. today announced a collaboration and licensing agreement aimed at accelerating the efficiency roadmap for First Solar's cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) technology. First Solar is the world's largest thin film PV solar module manufacturer and the leader in thin film PV utility-scale solar power plants.
Under a newly signed collaborative development program, First Solar will leverage Intermolecular's High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) platform in the development of its advanced, CdTe-based, thin film PV manufacturing technology. The program addresses new opportunities in certain critical materials and processes that may significantly influence the conversion efficiency of CdTe technology. Technical work is to be performed jointly at Intermolecular's San Jose, Calif., facility and in First Solar's research and development labs.
"We are excited to engage in this ongoing collaboration with Intermolecular," said Raffi Garabedian, First Solar Chief Technology Officer. "Further improving our world-record CdTe conversion efficiencies remains a strong lever to reduce the cost of solar energy. We evaluated Intermolecular's HPC platform and technical team in a trial collaboration, and this experience confirmed the suitability of the platform for our purposes."
First Solar set a new world record for CdTe PV solar module efficiency in January 2012, achieving 14.4 percent total area efficiency. In July 2011, the company set a world record for CdTe PV cell efficiency at 17.3 percent. Both records were confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
Craig Hunter, Intermolecular's senior vice president of Global Sales & Marketing, commented, "Leveraging our HPC platform to accelerate the PV roadmap is central to our mission at Intermolecular. Today's announcement with First Solar - a market leader in PV and the undisputed champion in thin film PV - represents tremendous validation of that proposition, particularly given the extensive technical due diligence the First Solar team conducted prior to entering into this agreement."
Intermolecular's mission is to improve R&D efficiency in the semiconductor and clean-energy industries through collaborations that use its HPC platform, which allows R&D experimentation to be performed at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional methods.