Via its majority-share holding in PrimeStar Solar, GE has outlined its R&D efforts with CdTe thin-film technology. GE said that hundreds of technologists in Germany, China, India and the United States are working on solar technologies. The company noted that it was utilizing its four Global Research operations to address each of the challenges required to bring a new CdTe thin-film product to market.
A team of PrimeStar technologists are working closely with GE researchers that are focused on device efficiency, reliability, production, and installation costs as well as manufacturability.
A research team based in Munich, Germany, was said to be utilizing world-class indoor and outdoor solar system test facilities where they study finished module performance. A key project focus is to identify and address degradation mechanisms and packaging issues. System-level optimized features and module metrics are also being investigated, according to GE.
Another team based at the John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, India, has been given the role of building comprehensive models to help guide advanced device design.
In China, where most of the world’s CdTe raw materials are found, researchers at GE’s China Technology Center in Shanghai are focused on CdTe materials and the impact they have on device performance. Key topics being addressed by the Shanghai team include improving material quality and developing advanced materials characterization techniques.
“After having completed an exhaustive survey of the PV landscape, we determined that thin films were the optimum path for GE,” said Danielle Merfeld, GE’s solar R&D leader. “Specifically, the CdTe technology from PrimeStar has great potential. Bringing together world-class materials expertise, unique materials, and systems modeling and design capabilities and state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor solar testing facilities, GE researchers are innovating across our four global research centers—literally around the clock—to deliver a breakthrough product to market.”