The semiconductor material used in our thin film modules has the highest theoretical efficiency of any PV material known today, significantly higher than crystalline silicon. Combined with the lowest inherent manufacturing costs
, CdTe presents the greatest opportunity for solar electricity to change the way the world is powered.
This curve, known as the S-Q limit, illustrates the thermodynamic efficiency limit for single-junction conversion of the solar spectrum. Our thin film module technology has the highest theoretical efficiency of any other material.
There have been 5 world records in CdTe efficiency over the past 3 years. On the contrary, single crystal and multicrystalline silicon have not achieved a breakthrough in research cell efficiency since 1999 and 2004, respectively; demonstrating that the practical efficiency limit of these technologies has nearly been met.
The gap between First Solar’s top research cell (21.5%) and the theoretical limit (near 30%) of our technology represents tremendous opportunity for improvement. We invest significantly in R&D to uncover the processes and materials required to further increase the efficiency of our thin film module technology. Having recently acquired GE’s technology IP and announced a technology and commercial partnership, our R&D team believes it has a clear line of sight to a 23% efficient thin film PV cell.