First Solar Inc., a US-based solar company, says its CuRe photovoltaic (PV) series 6 technology has a guaranteed rate of deterioration of 0.2% per year – the lowest rate for any PV commercially available today -Products based on publicly available information.
The degradation rate of Series 6 CuRe is up to 60% lower than traditional crystalline silicon (c-Si) products and ensures that the module will maintain at least 92% of its original performance at the end of its 30-year warranty.
According to First Solar, the near zero deterioration rate – combined with the temperature coefficient, spectral response and shading behavior of the modules – improves the competitiveness of the 6 Series CuRe platform in all markets. The improved performance is made possible by First Solar's semiconductor-level innovation and the CuRe (Copper Replacement) program. Developed by the company's scientists at their research and development centers in Silicon Valley and Ohio, CuRe is a proprietary semiconductor platform that replaces copper with atoms of Group V elements that improve performance and provide long-term stability.
“We have invested in our understanding of the dynamics of copper in order to turn a cause of deterioration into a way of practically eliminating it,” says Markus Gloeckler, CTO at First Solar. With this knowledge, we have explored a number of alternatives and found that Group V elements can effectively replace copper, act as a stable dopant, and promote our goal of zero degradation. CuRe is the ready-to-use result of this research. “
First Solar's cadmium telluride (CadTel) semiconductor technology, the result of an accumulated investment of over $ 1.4 billion, already has a proven track record of module degradation. The early generation modules, manufactured before most of the world's largest c-Si manufacturers, were installed in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) outdoor test facility in Colorado and recently completed 25 years of continuous monitoring. The long-term study showed a degradation rate of only 0.48% per year.
Series 6 CuRe builds on the success of First Solar's Series 6 technology, the world's only large-format thin-film module. Unlike c-Si panels, which can experience disproportionate loss of performance in shaded conditions, the Series 6 modules provide excellent shading response with a linear relationship to the shaded area, minimizing shading loss, according to First Solar. Series 6 CuRe technology is also immune to many of the issues the company believes will continue to plague c-Si sheet, including cell rupture due to abuse during installation or extreme weather events – such as high winds or hailstorms.