First Solar made the announcement today at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. This news comes just six months after First Solar leapfrogged the world record for CdTe solar cell efficiency with a mark of 17.3 percent.
Both the cell and module record-setters were constructed using commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials at the company’s Perrysburg, Ohio factory. First Solar updated its module efficiency roadmap last year to the increased goal of 14.5 to 15 percent average efficiency for its production modules by the end of 2015, and the process improvements developed for the record-setting cell and module continue to be implemented as part of that roadmap. The average efficiency of First Solar modules increased from 11.4 percent in 2010 to 11.7 percent in 2011 and is expected to reach 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
"This considerable achievement supports our module efficiency roadmap and demonstrates our ability to convert our record-cell technology into ongoing module-level improvements," said Eaglesham. "These records also underscore the tremendous ongoing potential of CdTe compared to silicon-based technologies."
Cell efficiency measures the proportion of light converted to energy in a single solar cell, whereas total area module efficiency measures light conversion across a production-size, multi-cell solar module, providing a more realistic assessment of real-world performance than cell or aperture-area efficiency.