First Solar and Intermolecular Enter Efficiency Research Agreement

First Solar and Intermolecular yesterday 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 the development agreement, 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 idea is to assess the opportunities in certain critical materials and processes that may increase the conversion efficiency of CdTe technology.

“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.” Technical work is to be performed jointly at Intermolecular’s facility in San Jose, California, and in First Solar’s research and development labs.

Back in January FirstSolar achieved a new world world record for CdTe PV solar module efficiency when it reached 14.4 percent total area efficiency. In July 2011, the company had 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).

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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