First Solar claims solar cell record

First Solar says it has set a world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) PV solar cell conversion efficiency, achieving 20.4% in a laboratory in the state of Ohio.

The result, which improves upon the previous record of 19.6% set by General Electric global Research in 2013, was confirmed by the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, according to First Solar.

"This record marks another achievement in our mission to unlock the industry-changing potential of CdTe PV," says Raffi Garabedian, First Solar's chief technology officer.

"We are demonstrating improvement in CdTe PV performance at a rate that dramatically outstrips the trajectory of conventional silicon technologies, which have already plateaued near their ultimate entitlements,” he claims.

Last April, First Solar and GE announced a solar technology partnership in which First Solar acquired GE's CdTe solar intellectual property. It also secured a collaborative research partnership with GE's research and development team.

The partnership was formed to accelerate innovation in PV technology and accelerate solar module performance at manufacturing scale.

First Solar says it increased its average production module efficiency to 13.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 12.9% a year earlier.