First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) has improved on its previous record of producing the most efficient thin-film solar cell. The World’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar photovoltaic cells and modules, announced that the cell designed at its Ohio manufacturing factory and R&D center have an efficiency of 21%, which is the highest by a non-concentrating cadmium-telluride cell.
First Solar can enter quick mass production
The new research cell has got an approval from Newport Corporation’s Technology and Applications Centre, and is 3% more efficient than the cell manufactured by First Solar in February 2014. First Solar can start the mass production of this cell quickly for the reason that the processes and materials used in manufacturing this cell comply with the commercial scale manufacturing.
The latest cell tech is only second to the concentrating version of the CdTe cell in the thin-film solar cell segment. Copper Indium Gallium Selenide stood second in the efficiency at 20.9%, in the non-concentrating segment. First Solar, also, improved its multi-crystalline silicon cells that achieved efficiency of 20.4% in 2004.
Previously, Clean Technica noted that the efficiency of the cell does not decline as much in hot conditions as the case was with crystalline Silicon solar modules.
Rising competition, declining net sales
Net sales for the company in the second-quarter declined to $544 million, a drop of $406 million compared to the first-quarter. Also, there is an increasing competition from the low-priced Chinese panels and anti-dumping duty in major solar power markets like India.
In the second-quarter, the company reported that its project businesses declined due to a lower quarter on quarter revenue recognition from the two large North America solar projects. AVSR project, a 230 megawatt solar project is near its completion whereas some technical issues in inverters grappled the 550 megawatt Desert Sunlight project.
Average production module efficiency in the second-quarter 2014 was 14%, an increase of 0.5% from the first-quarter of 2014 and a rise of 0.7% from financial year 2013. The company is targeting research cell efficiency of 22% in 2015. In order to increase sales and generate profits, the company should improve cell efficiency gradually if not at very fast rate.