Head of Technology Assessment
First Solar, United States

The bottom line: real-world performance advantage of thin-film CdTe technology

Recent advancements in First Solar’s thin-film module technology have demonstrated significant efficiency enhancements, setting a new benchmark for PV solar systems. With current production efficiencies at more than 16.4% and future Series 5 and Series 6 modules targeting production efficiencies upwards of 17%, performance improvements are being delivered at a rapid and sustained rate. A key component of this demonstrated performance advantage is the technology’s superior energy yield, which is enhanced further in hot and humid climates, such as SE Asia. It’s here that thin-film CdTe modules have an inherent technology advantage compared to traditional silicon modules due to a superior spectral response and temperature coefficient. Today’s presentation will review First Solar’s recent technology developments and explore the current tangible energy production benefits which make this technology a more competitive and scalable source of energy.


Dr. Dirk Weiss heads Technology Assessment in First Solar’s CTO office, where he investigates new technologies, both within and beyond the thin-film module space. He holds undergraduate and master’s level degrees in Physics from Freie Universität Berlin, a doctorate in Materials Science from the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, and he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work experience spans both academia and industry—ranging from a startup to a conglomerate (United Technologies Corp.). His technical expertise includes renewable energy systems, nanotechnology, and material characterization.