Arizona — First Solar has made a notable announcement with the introduction of the world’s first limited production run of a bifacial solar panel utilizing an advanced thin film semiconductor.
This module, currently undergoing field and laboratory testing, builds upon the successful Series 6 monofacial module platform developed by First Solar. One of the key features of this innovative module is its transparent back contact, developed by First Solar’s dedicated research and development (R&D) teams.
First Solar says this unique feature not only enables bifacial energy gain but also allows infrared wavelengths of light to pass through instead of being absorbed as heat.
This is expected to reduce the operational temperature of the bifacial module and increase its specific energy yield.
Pat Buehler, Chief Product Officer at First Solar, highlighted the qualities of the Series 6 Plus Bifacial module, emphasizing its quality, sustainability, reliability, and long-term performance. The company aims to offer a viable alternative to crystalline silicon-based bifacial technology by combining bifaciality with the industry’s best warranted degradation rate, the CdTe thin film’s superior energy production capabilities, and an innovative module design.
The Series 6 Plus monofacial module boasts several industry-leading features, including a 0.3 percent warranted degradation rate, excellent temperature coefficient, spectral response, and shading behavior. Additionally, the module incorporates an anti-reflective coating to enhance energy production.
Unlike crystalline silicon panels, the Series 6 Plus module developed by First Solar does not suffer from losses caused by Light Induced Degradation (LID) and Light and elevated Temperature Induced Degradation (LeTID).
Furthermore, the module is manufactured under stringent quality control measures that exceed International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, ensuring reliability and durability in high-temperature, high-humidity, and extreme environmental conditions.
In October 2022, First Solar announced its plans to construct a state-of-the-art R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. With an estimated investment of around $370 million, this facility is expected to be the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
The R&D center, scheduled for completion in 2024, will be located near First Solar’s existing Perrysburg manufacturing facility, covering an area of approximately 1.3 million square feet. It will feature a high-tech pilot manufacturing line, enabling the production of full-sized prototypes of thin film and tandem PV modules.