First Solar gives sneak peek at bifacial thin-film solar panel

First Solar

First Solar announced a limited production run of their first bifacial solar panel utilizing an advanced thin film semiconductor at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany. A fully functional pre-commercial Series 6 Plus Bifacial photovoltaic (PV) module will make its industry debut at the event at First Solar’s booth (#520) in Hall A1 from June 14 to 17, 2023.

The module, which is undergoing field and laboratory testing, builds on the track record of First Solar’s Series 6 monofacial module platform. The module features a transparent back contact, pioneered by First Solar’s research and development (R&D) teams. It enables bifacial energy gain and allows infrared wavelengths of light to pass through rather than be absorbed as heat. This is expected to lower the operational temperature of the bifacial module and result in a higher specific energy yield.

“This module combines the quality, sustainability, reliability, and long-term performance of our Series 6 Plus platform with our first increment of bifaciality,” said Pat Buehler, chief product officer, First Solar. “Once commercialized, we expect Series 6 Plus Bifacial to represent the first real alternative to crystalline silicon-based bifacial technology, effectively combining bifaciality with the industry’s best warranted degradation rate, CdTe thin film’s ability to deliver more energy per nameplate watt, best-in-class reliability and durability, and innovative module design.”

Series 6 Plus monofacial module features a 0.3 percent warranted degradation rate and an anti-reflective coating to enhance energy production. Moreover, unlike crystalline silicon (c-Si) panels, First Solar’s Series 6 Plus module does not experience losses from Light Induced Degradation (LID) and Light and elevated Temperature Induced Degradation (LeTID). The module is manufactured under one roof with 100 percent traceable quality assurance, exceeding International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards in high temperature, high humidity, and extreme desert and coastal applications.

In October 2022, First Solar announced that it would construct a new R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The facility, representing an investment of approximately $370 million, is believed to be the first of its scale in the Western Hemisphere and is expected to accelerate the development and production of advanced thin film PV.

Scheduled to be completed in 2024, the new R&D center 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 allowing for the production of full sized prototypes of thin film and tandem PV modules.

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