First Solar, Inc. is an American photovoltaic manufacturer of rigid thin film modules, or solar panels, and a provider of utility-scale PV power plants and supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling. First Solar uses cadmium telluride as a semiconductor to produce CdTe-panels, that are competing successfully with conventional crystalline silicon technology. In 2009, First Solar became the first solar panel manufacturing company to lower its manufacturing cost to $1 per watt and produced CdTe-panels with an efficiency of about 14 percent at a reported cost of 59 cents per watt in 2013.The company was founded in 1990 by inventor Harold McMaster as Solar Cells, Inc. and the Florida Corporation in 1993 with JD Polk. In 1999 it was purchased by True North Partners, LLC, who rebranded it as First Solar, Inc. The company went public in 2006, trading on the NASDAQ. Its current chief executive is James Hughes, who succeeded interim CEO Mike Ahearn on May 3, 2012. First Solar is based in Tempe, Arizona. As of 2010, First Solar was considered the second-largest maker of PV modules worldwide and ranked sixth in Fast Company’s list of the world's 50 most innovative companies. In 2011, it ranked first on Forbes’s list of America’s 25 fastest-growing technology companies. It is listed on the Photovoltaik Global 30 Index since the beginning of this stock index in 2009. The company was also listed as No. 1 in Solar Power World magazine’s 2012 and 2013 rankings of solar contractors. Wikipedia.
First Solar | Date: 2016-11-22
A photovoltaic cell can include a substrate having a copper-doped semiconductor layer. The doping can be mediated with a salt.
First Solar | Date: 2016-12-05
First Solar | Date: 2016-11-03
A method for producing, apparatus for producing and photovoltaic device including semiconductor layers with halide heat treated surfaces that increase grain growth within at least one of the semiconductor layers and improve the interface between the semiconductor layers. The halide heat treatment includes applying and heating multiple coatings of a halide compound on surfaces adjacent to or part of the semiconductor layers.
First Solar | Date: 2016-12-09
A method for manufacturing a photovoltaic device includes a step of depositing one of an amorphous layer of ZnTe and a multilayer stack of Zn and Te adjacent a semiconductor layer. The one of the amorphous layer and the multilayer stack is then subjected to an energy impulse at a temperature equal to or greater than its critical temperature. The energy impulse results in an explosive crystallization to form a polycrystalline layer of ZnTe from the one of the amorphous layer and the multilayer stack.
First Solar | Date: 2016-10-11
An improved feeder system and method for continuous vapor transport deposition that includes at least two vaporizers couple to a common distributor through an improved seal for separately vaporizing and collecting at least any two vaporizable materials for deposition as a material layer on a substrate. Multiple vaporizer provide redundancy and allow for continuous deposition during vaporizer maintenance and repair.
First Solar | Date: 2016-12-20
Methods for doping an absorbent layer of a p-n heterojunction in a thin film photovoltaic device are provided. The method can include depositing a window layer on a transparent substrate, where the window layer includes at least one dopant (e.g,. copper). A p-n heterojunction can be formed on the window layer, with the p-n heterojunction including a photovoltaic material (e.g., cadmium telluride) in an absorber layer. The dopant can then be diffused from the window layer into the absorber layer (e.g., via annealing).
First Solar | Date: 2016-12-19
Described herein is a method of using the buffer layer of a transparent conductive substrate as a dopant source for the n-type window layer of a photovoltaic device. The dopant source of the buffer layer distributes to the window layer of the photovoltaic device during semiconductor processing. Described herein are also methods of manufacturing embodiments of the substrate structure and photovoltaic device. Disclosed embodiments also describe a photovoltaic module and a photovoltaic structure with a plurality of photovoltaic devices having an embodiment of the substrate structure.
First Solar | Date: 2016-02-18
A process for preparing alloy products powders is described using a self-sustaining or self-propagating SHS-type combustion process. Binary, ternary and quaternary alloy having cadmium, selenium and optionally a third element X or Y selected from Group VIA (such as S or Te) or from group IIB (such as Zn or Hg). The alloy products may be doped or not with a wide variety of other elements. The process involves heating to ignition, maintaining an elevated temperature less than melting for homogenization, followed by cooling and crushing. An optional de-oxidation process may follow to further purify the alloy and balance the stoichiometry.
First Solar | Date: 2016-12-08
Disclosed are methods for the surface cleaning and passivation of PV absorbers, such as CdTe substrates usable in solar cells, and devices made by such methods. In some embodiments, the method involves an anode layer ion source (ALIS) plasma discharge process to clean and oxidize a CdTe surface to produce a thin oxide layer between the CdTe layer and subsequent back contact layer(s).
First Solar | Date: 2017-01-18
A photovoltaic device includes a substrate and has a transparent conductive oxide layer, a conductive back layer, and at least one intermediate semiconductor layer formed thereon. An isolation scribe divides and electrically isolates the oxide layer, the back layer and the semiconductor layer to define two photovoltaic cells. A conductor extends across the isolation scribe and connects the back layer of one photovoltaic cell to the oxide layer of the other photovoltaic cell.