CLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIACLICK HERE: free registration for Semiconductor Today and Semiconductor Today ASIA

Join our LinkedIn group!

Follow ST on Twitter

12 July 2013

RSI announces record-size CdTe solar modules

REEL Solar Inc (RSI) of San Jose, CA, USA has announced a new record for cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic module size, achieving a 1.5 square meter module.

Conventional cadmium telluride (CdTe) modules measure 0.72 square meters, a limitation that stems from the use of high-temperature CdTe deposition processes. RSI has developed a proprietary tool and low-temperature process, called Rapid Efficient Electroplating on Large-areas (REEL) that both speeds the plating step and eliminates constraints on panel area. RSI has been developing low-cost electroplating processes since 2009. The firm is now offering a ‘virtual turnkey’ manufacturing capability to a single licensee in each major region of the world. The firm projects a manufacturing cost of less than 40 cents per peak watt in 2014.

The availability of low-cost, large-area CdTe panels - coupled with a business model that leverages exclusive regional manufacturing partners - promises the widespread acceleration of grid parity for utility-scale solar, says the firm.

“At each step in the manufacturing process we are moving more Watts for a given capex, materials and labor cost,” says RSI’s co-founder & president Kurt Weiner. “At the end, our panels produce significantly more power so they’re cheaper to install. When we founded the company we recognized that in thin-film, you needed larger panel sizes with higher power outputs, in addition to efficiency, to truly differentiate against silicon. We’ve achieved both at RSI,” he adds.

“The solar industry is growing massively, but the only manufacturers who have made consistent profits are those with access to proprietary technology,” says chief executive Ed Grady. “Incremental improvements to undifferentiated technology like crystalline silicon are not enough to prosper in this commoditized market. Manufacturers end up giving away their margin to survive,” he adds. “First Solar has shown how to make profits through technology and cost differentiation. RSI is delivering a step change improvement in the cost structure, while retaining all the characteristics that have made CdTe so successful,” Grady continues.

“The combination of low capital need and a focus on solving the key manufacturing scale and capital cost issues made RSI stand out as an investment opportunity,” comments investor Matt Jones of Nth Power. “RSI had the highest profit and investor return potential of any solar module company we have seen,” he adds.

“The solar industry is just beginning to hit its stride,” believes Pedram Mokrian of Mayfield Fund. “RSI's large-area manufacturing technology, based on the proven CdTe material system, represents a step change in PV manufacturing costs. Most importantly, our investment focused on the strength of the RSI team, and their ability to execute against this vision.”

Tags: CdTe Thin-film photovoltaic


See Latest IssueRSS Feed