First Solar has announced limited production of the “world’s first” bifacial solar panel using the cadmium telluride (CdTe) semiconductor. The pre-commercial Series 6 Plus bifacial modules will debut this week at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany.
US-based thin-film PV manufacturer First Solar is showcasing fully functional, pre-commercial bifacial thin-film PV modules at Intersolar Europe this week in Munich, Germany. It has announced limited production of what it calls “the world’s first bifacial solar panel using advanced thin-film semiconductors.” The semiconductor for these cells is thin-film CdTe.
The bifacial product line is currently undergoing field and laboratory testing. It builds on the company’s Series 6 Plus monofacial modules, which were first introduced in 2019.
According to reports, First Solar’s R&D team has developed a transparent back contact for the module. This innovative feature allows light at infrared wavelengths to pass through the back of the module instead of being absorbed as heat. It also enables bifacial power generation. The manufacturer says the technology will lower the module’s operating temperature and increase its specific energy yield.
“This module combines the quality, sustainability, reliability and long-term performance of our Series 6 Plus platform with our first addition of bifaciality,” said Pat Buehler, First Solar Chief Product Officer. “Once commercialized, we expect The Series 6 Plus Bifacial will be the first true replacement for crystalline silicon-based bifacial technology, effectively combining bifaciality with the industry’s best guaranteed degradation rate, the ability of CdTe films to deliver more energy per nameplate watt, best- Best-in-class reliability and durability, and an innovative modular design.”
Single-sided Series 6 Plus modules are rated from 455 W to 480 W with efficiencies up to 19.0%. They offer a guaranteed degradation rate of 0.3%, spectral response, light-shading behavior, and anti-reflective coatings for enhanced energy production.
“Furthermore, unlike crystalline silicon (c-Si) panels, First Solar’s Series 6 Plus modules do not suffer from light-induced degradation (LID) and light- and high-temperature-induced degradation (LeTID),” First Solar said.
In October 2022, First Solar said it would establish a new R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The plant, due to be completed in 2024, includes a pilot line for the production of full-scale prototypes of thin-film and tandem photovoltaic modules.
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