First Solar touts its ‘CuRe’ technology delivering module degradation rates of only 0.2% per year



‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member First Solar has warranted its CdTe thin-film Series 6 modules to only have degradation rates of 0.2% per year, believed to be the lowest rate in the solar industry.

Recently, PV Tech highlighted a number of key manufacturing developments at First Solar, including its copper replacement ‘CuRe’ program that improved key performance metrics of its Series 6 modules.

The SMSL said that the 0.2% per year warranted degradation rate was, “up to 60% lower than conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) products, and ensures that the module will retain at least 92% of its original performance at the end of its 30-year warranty.”

The CuRe program also improves the temperature coefficient of the Series 6 modules. The company noted Series 6 modules also featured a -0.28%/°C temperature coefficient (Pmax).

At the same time SMSL member, Canadian Solar announced its latest monofacial HiKu7 Mono LFM (Large Format Modules) series with power output of between 640W to 665W. This module has a first-year power degradation of no more than 2% with subsequent annual power degradation of no more than 0.55%. The temperature coefficient (Pmax) was -0.35%/°C.

“We invested in our understanding of copper’s dynamics in order to turn what had been a cause of degradation into an opportunity to virtually eliminate it,” noted Markus Gloeckler, chief technology officer at First Solar. “Armed with this knowledge, we researched a range of alternatives and found that Group V elements could effectively replace copper, acting as a stable dopant and furthering our goal of zero degradation. CuRe is the deployment-ready result of that research, and the world’s most technologically advanced thin film solar module.”

First Solar also claimed Series 6 CuRe technology generated improved spectral response, limiting performance drops in hot and humid environments, compared to c-Si modules. This factor was also linked to less power loss when modules operated in shaded conditions. First Solar claims that the Series 6 modules features better shading response with a linear relationship to the shaded area that therefore minimizes shading loss.

Series 6 CuRe technology is also claimed to limit cell-cracking due to the possibility of damage when modules are not handled correctly before and during installation or due to extreme weather events, such as high winds or hailstorms.

First Solar’s Series 6 modules were now said to come with the industry’s first cell-cracking warranty.

Mark Widmar, chief executive officer of First Solar, added, “Series 6 CuRe represents innovation in its truest form. From engineering the atoms in the semiconductor to its ability to withstand extreme weather events such as hailstorms, and from the social license that comes built-in to being able to recycle over 90% of each module, this responsibly-produced technology is packed with innovation designed to address many of our customers’ biggest challenges.”

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