First Solar and its cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology dominate thin-film solar in the mainstream market. Valerie Thompson looks at the US-based business and the future of thin-film PV technology.
Scientists in the United States investigated adding a layer of copper-aluminum oxide to the rear side of a cadmium-telluride thin film cell, finding positive impacts on carrier lifetime and efficiency. With further work, the scientists say, the discovery could open up new routes to higher efficiencies in CdTe solar cells.
A US study has suggested the raised energy yield of bifacial perovskite devices effectively means they could have a lower environmental impact than conventional crystalline cells. The researchers considered single-junction cells with high and low bandgaps and similar, multi-junction devices with two and four-terminal structures.
A research team in the US has proposed a ‘dual-angle solar harvesting’ method it is claimed could help PV developers optimize energy yield and land use. It is claimed the method would be particularly suitable for projects in cloudier climates and at higher latitudes.
The 300,000 sq ft factory in Dalton, Georgia has the capacity to produce 12,000 PV modules per day – 1.7 GW worth annually for panels able to produce the same peak generating capacity as the Hoover Dam.
The solar-plus-storage combination is super-charging the deployment of batteries across the country and IHS Markit says the U.S. will become the largest market for grid-tied energy storage this year.
The 1.2 GW factory will employ 500 workers. The new facility is expected to bring First Solar’s total capacity to 7.6 GW by the end of 2020.
First Solar brought in a net profit on the sale of a major solar project, as it orders tools and prepares for the switch to its large-format series 6.
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