Solar Panels Review – First Solar Thin-film Solar Panels
First Solar Inc is a solar PV manufacturing company based in the United States with manufacturing plants in Malaysia, Vietnam and USA.
First Solar specializes in the development and manufacturing of thin-film photovoltaic modules ranging from 60 to 92.5 Wp. First Solar also provides support services, including finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling for utility scale PV power projects.
When it comes to thin-film solar panels, First Solar uses cadmium telluride (CdTe) as a semiconductor to produce CdTe thin-film solar panels and has a good track record as a market leader with a market share of about 50%.
Thin-film solar panels have been competing very well with the conventional crystalline silicon technology since 2009 when First Solar became the first solar panel manufacturing company to lower its manufacturing cost to $1per watt with CdTe solar panels with an efficiency of about 14%.
By 2015, First Solar had managed to reduce the cost of its CdTe modules with 16% efficiency to a manufacturing cost below USD $0.46/Watt. Also First Solar continues to develop thin-film solar panels with high efficiencies ranging between 16.1% to 22.1% conversion efficiency. The record 22.1% conversion efficiency was reported in 2016.
What makes thin-film solar panels from First Solar some of the best solar panels in the market?
1. First solar is known to have a strong and robust quality control system for producing its CdTE thin-film solar panels and has test programs and quality management systems in place to ensure their modules comply with the required qualification standards.
2. First Solar is listed on the NASDAQ Global select market under the symbol “FSLR” since its initial public offering in November 2006. In 2009, it common stock was added to the S&P 500 index and has a strong balance compared to other solar companies in the USA.
3. First solar continues to invest heavily on its research and development(R&D) program to improve the quality and efficiencies of its CdTE thin-film solar panels. Also R&D programs will enable it to continue to reduce the cost of its thin-film solar panels.
4. First solar is one of the solar manufacturing companies that has a solar module collection and recycling program which helps it to recover certain raw materials and components for re-use in its manufacturing program. By recycling, it reduces its environmental footprint or environmental impact associated with its modules at the end of their useful life. First Solar states that approximately 90% of each collected First Solar module can be recycled into materials for re-use.
5. First Solar has a fully integrated business model that allows them to include project development; Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) services as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) services that enables them to provide turnkey PV solar power systems and solar solutions.
6. First Solar relies on automated manufacturing processes enhancing the reliability of the quality of its solar modules and offers 25 years performance warranties and 10 year product warranties for their Series 4 and Series 6 PV modules.
The above factors makes thin-film solar panels from First Solar, some of the best in the country based on the article “Important things to consider when choosing your solar panels for home.”
This is just a short summary about thin-film solar panels from First Solar, INC, to learn more about this company and others, you can join EnergySage or Pick My Solar & start using their online tools e.g. the solar panel cost calculator to determine your solar panel cost and how much you can save with solar. Here you will also get the latest information about this solar company.