FSLR Sets Module Efficiency Record - Analyst Blog

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First Solar Inc. ( FSLR ) announced it set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) solar module efficiency, achieving 14.4% total area efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) confirmed the record, which eclipsed the prior record of 13.4%, which was also set by First Solar.

The record performance, announced at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi by First Solar Chief Technology Officer Dave Eaglesham, comes just six months after First Solar leapfrogged the world record for CdTe solar cell efficiency with a mark of 17.3%. Both the cell and module record-setters were constructed using commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials at the company's Perrysburg, Ohio factory.

Cell efficiency measures the proportion of light converted to energy in a single solar cell, whereas total area module efficiency measures light conversion across a production-size, multi-cell solar module, providing a more realistic assessment of real-world performance than cell or aperture-area efficiency.

Earlier, in December 2011, First Solar updated its long-term module efficiency goal of 14.5%-15.0% average efficiency for its modules by the end of 2015. The average efficiency of First Solar modules increased from 11.4% in 2010 to 11.7% in 2011 and is expected to reach 12.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012.

First Solar, the largest stand-alone solar module manufacturer in terms of market capitalization, will benefit greatly from the steady economic recovery as well as favorable legislations supporting PV installations. The company's project pipeline currently stands at an impressive 3.2 GW.

First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and is a premier provider of comprehensive PV system solutions. The company is delivering an economically and environmentally viable alternative to fossil fuel.

From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating value-driven renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

Moreover, by virtue of its diversified revenue exposure, technological enhancements and cost minimization, the company has a distinct edge over its competitors. Through cadmium telluride-based solar modules, the company offers a differentiated technology versus its silicon-based peers.

However, First Solar's short-term growth may be partially hampered by the volatile euro, apprehension over reduction in German subsidies, falling crystalline silicon prices and the modules' glut in the market. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #5 Rank (Strong Sell). Over the longer run we also maintain our long-term Underperform recommendation on the stock. This is in line with other solar peers like China Sunergy Co. Ltd. ( CSUND ) and Real Goods Solar Inc. ( RSOL ).

CHINA SUNERGY ( CSUND ): Free Stock Analysis Report
FIRST SOLAR INC ( FSLR ): Free Stock Analysis Report
REAL GOODS SOLR ( RSOL ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: CSUND , FSLR , RSOL

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