First Solar has announced limited production of the “world’s first” cadmium telluride (CdTe) bifacial solar panel. The pre-commercial Series 6 Plus Bifacial module will make its debut this week at Intersolar Europe in Munich, Germany.
The Bifacial product line is now in field and laboratory testing. It is based on the company’s Series 6 Plus monofacial modules, which were first launched in 2019.
First Solar’s research and development teams are said to have developed a transparent back contact for the module. This innovative feature allows infrared wavelengths of light to pass through the back of the module instead of being absorbed as heat. It also enables the production of bifacial energy. The manufacturer said this technology lowers the module’s operating temperature and increases its specific energy yield.
“This module combines the quality, durability, reliability and long-term performance of our Series 6 Plus platform with the first bifaciality,” said Pat Buehler, director of product at First Solar. “Upon commercialization, we expect the Series 6 Plus Bifacial to be the first true alternative to crystalline silicon-based bifacial technology, effectively combining bifaciality with the industry’s best guaranteed breakdown rate, the ability of CdTe thin film to produce more energy per nameplate watt. -class reliability and durability, and innovative module design.”
The monofacial series 6 Plus modules have power ratings of 455 W to 480 W and up to 19.0% efficiency. They offer a guaranteed decay rate of 0.3%, spectral response, shading behavior and an anti-reflective coating to enhance energy production.
“Additionally, unlike crystalline silicon (c-Si) panels, First Solar’s Series 6 Plus module has no losses from light-induced degradation (LID) or light-elevated temperature degradation (LeTID),” said First Solar.
In October 2022, First Solar announced that it will build a new R&D innovation center in Perrysburg, Ohio. The plant will be completed in 2024 with a pilot production line producing full-scale prototypes of thin-film and tandem PV modules.