Although new conversion efficiencies have yet to be ratified by the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Abound Solar would seem to have caught-up with CdTe thin-film leader, First Solar. It may have an enormous task to close the gap on manufacturing metrics, but aperture area efficiencies of 12.2%, generating modules with 82.8W specification on existing production equipment is a good start. First Solar reached volume production of modules with an average efficiency of 11.7% in 2011.
Abound Solar expects to begin mass production of 82W modules in the second half of 2012 and 85W modules in the first half of 2013. However, First Solar has already reiterated it expects to reach production efficiencies of 12.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“We are very proud of this achievement and I think it underscores the tremendous capabilities of CdTe thin-film technology as a leading solution for competitive, reliable solar power made in the US,” said Craig Witsoe, president and CEO of Abound Solar. “Abound’s R&D team continues to innovate, and we expect to continue increasing our module efficiency and performance. We believe thin-film will soon outpace other forms of PV in regards to cost-efficiency.”
Abound Solar noted that it had produced its one-millionth module in December 2011.