First Solar Claims PV Efficiency Record

Tempe, Arizona-basd First Solar, the maker of thin-film solar power panels, reported today that it has set a new world record for Cadmium-Telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar cell efficiency. The firm said that the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has confirmed 17.3 percent efficiency with a test cell from the firm, beating out a previous record of 16.7 percent efficiency, set in 2001. First Solar said the test cell was constructed using commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials. The firm said its average efficiency of modules produced in the first quarter was 11.7 percent; the firm is aiming at upping that efficiency to 13.5 to 14.5 percent by the end of 2014.