Rapid Deposition Technology Holds the Key for the World's Largest Solar Manufacturer (Fact Sheet) Page: 1 of 2
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E *A * a U
Rapid Deposition Technology
Holds the Key for World's Largest
In a long-term collaboration with the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory (NREL), an innovator in thin-film solar technology has
grown from a start-up company to become the world's largest
manufacturer of solar modules. First Solar, Inc. now manufactures
its cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar modules throughout the world,
and in 2009, it became the first solar manufacturer in the world
to produce more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar panels in a
single year. That's enough solar modules to equal the generating
capacity of an average-sized nuclear power plant.
Most solar cells and panels sold throughout the world depend on silicon semiconductors to
work their magic. But researchers at NREL and at the U.S. Department of Energy have long
known that large-scale, cost-competitive deployment of solar power requires the use of less-
A key solution to this problem, which NREL has pursued for decades, is the thin-film solar
module, which employs thin films of semiconducting material applied to a substrate such as
glass, metal, or plastic. Such devices use only a small fraction of the semiconductor materials
used in conventional silicon solar cells, potentially yielding significant cost savings. NREL's
success in spurring the thin-film solar industry is demonstrated by First Solar, which is
now the world's largest solar manufacturer.
Courtesy of First Solar
Testing and Validation
Through deep technical expertise
and an unmatched breadth of
capabilities, NREL leads an integrated
approach across the spectrum of
renewable energy innovation. From
scientific discovery to accelerating
market deployment, NREL works in
partnership with private industry
to drive the transformation of our
nation's energy systems.
This case study illustrates NREL's
innovations and contributions
in Market-Relevant Research
thro gh Commercialization.
NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY
NREL is a national laboratory of the
U.S. Department of Energy, Office
of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy, operated by the Alliance for
Sustainable Energy, LLC.
The Spectrum of
Clean Energy Innovation
d - amental Science
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Rapid Deposition Technology Holds the Key for the World's Largest Solar Manufacturer (Fact Sheet), report, October 1, 2010; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015207/m1/1/: accessed December 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.