Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Solar Record Achieved - 17.3%

First Solar achieved a record 17.3% solar efficiency, breaking the previous record  held from 2001 at 16.7%.  Beyond that, I wonder what took so long to break this record.

Now, it doen't meant that suddently, we are going go be see new solar panels taking converting 17.3% of sunlight into electricity.  Actual panel effiency from First Solar stands at 13.4%.  Which isn't bad but a long way from single cell conversions.  

On top of that, real world efficiency is even lower.  First Solar's average efficiency was around 12% in the first quarter of 2011.  that is less than 70% of what they achieved in the lab.

However, the use of Cadmium telluride panels is cheaper than traditional silicon panels.  Silicon-based panels have higher solar efficiency.  And while we are on the subject, there is another competing thin-fime tech, called copper, indium, gallium selenide (CIGS) that could achieve comparable rates with cadmium-telluride panels and could be more profitable for developers.

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