Solar panels or solar PV (photovoltaic) modules capture photons from the sun and use them to generate electricity. They do this by using the photovoltaic effect which can be found in semiconductors such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride and amorphous silicon, when they are exposed to sunlight. First Solar PV panels have been reported as setting the world record for solar panel efficiency recently with their cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film solar panels achieving efficiency levels of 17.3%. Arizona based First Solar was the first solar panel manufacturer in the world to achieve production costs as low as per watt.
First Solar Panel Prices
First solar panel prices are generally only available to product developers and system integrators. First Solar panel prices are not generally found in shops or from solar suppliers as they specialize in providing large scale solar farms for utilities or power plants around the world with the largest solar power plants being built using their solar panels. First solar generated electricity may be purchased from the developers who have invested in First Solar farms to sell cheaper solar electricity to homes and businesses.
First Solar and Grid Parity
First Solar has more than 3.8 GW of working installations globally with an unprecedented production of over 1GW worth of modules every year. With electricity prices rising and the cost of thin film First Solar panels decreasing per watt, it has been reported that grid parity will be reached in most economies by around 2015. Grid parity is the point at which electricity produced using coal, oil and other unsustainable methods will be equal to the cost of sustainable sources of energy such as solar power and wind energy.
First Solar – Thin Film
First Solar specializes in manufacturing highly efficient thin film solar panels able to out perform crystalline silicon modules with the same power ratings in terms of real-world environments. Unlike many thin film solar panels, First Solar thin film are not flexible, unlike many other thin film solar panels, because they are built on glass and thin film only refers to the amount of semiconducting material used in their manufacture. The benefits of thin film solar panels are their ability to operate more efficiently in low light conditions. All solar panels lose a certain percentage of power as temperature increases but thin film solar panels are less susceptible to the negative effects of heat. The top crystalline solar panels have temperature coefficient of power (TCoP) levels of around -0.34% while First Solar thin film offer TCoP ratings of -0.25%. First Solar also offers industry leading performance warranties to back up their superior technology such as a 25 year 80% performance warranty on power output and a 10 year 90% warranty.