Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

18 Posts
Apr 27, 2009 11:07 pm
Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels -
Does anyone know where I can get CdTe Solar Panels?  I found a company that has them, but for some insane reason they wont sell them outside Oregon, California or Arizona. . .
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
2 Posts
Apr 27, 2009 11:33 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels


Currently the largest and most well know CdTe module manufacturer is First Solar.  Up until recently they were exclusively sold for larger PV installs (greater than 10 kW).  Late last year they partnered with SolarCity to offer residential installs on the West Coast (CA, AZ, and OR) but it sounds like you already have contacted them.  There are a couple of new CdTe start-ups such as Sunovia, Calyxo USA, and Xunlight26, but as far as I know, none of these modules are available in the US market as of now.
Is there a reason why are looking specifically for CdTe?

AltE Staff
Apr 29, 2009 03:29 am
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Is the PV industry singularly above reproach?

But how long are they predicting these CdTe type PV modules will produce rated or no less than 80% of rated output power @ stc.?
Polycrystalline silicon PV modules come with 20 and 25 year warranty coverage for no less than 80% of rated power output @ stc.. But just like a bank of flooded cell lead acid batteries, even our silicon PV modules will have to be replaced one day.

How are they planning on recycling the CdTe PV modules when there time is up?
For that matter how is the PV industry planning on recycling silicon PV modules when there time is up?
Will there be a "buy back" program or do we just throw them in a land fill along side of disposable baby diapers?

None of them will make power indefinitely, right?
25 year coverage for no less than 80% of rate output power at stc.. So after 25 years??? Can we speculate that rated output power will begin to diminish at a greater rate than in the first 25 years? What percent of the rated output power at stc. will my Solarex MSX77's be putting out in 2030?

Are there any of the PV modules produced with 25 years warranties who's time is up yet?
Is anybody within the PV industry monitoring this?

What will the future of PV bring us?

Will there ever be the need to create a "watchdog" committee to protect consummers from an industry?
578 Posts
Apr 29, 2009 08:56 am
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

here is what their website says. I dont know more than that.  I only know one person with cdte modules. in the states they are only with that ppa company out west, or for large commercial projects.

altE staff

"Making Renewable Do-able"

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« Last Edit: Apr 29, 2009 09:01 am by James Cormican »
18 Posts
Apr 29, 2009 05:10 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels


Currently the largest and most well know CdTe module manufacturer is First Solar.  Up until recently they were exclusively sold for larger PV installs (greater than 10 kW).  Late last year they partnered with SolarCity to offer residential installs on the West Coast (CA, AZ, and OR) but it sounds like you already have contacted them.  There are a couple of new CdTe start-ups such as Sunovia, Calyxo USA, and Xunlight26, but as far as I know, none of these modules are available in the US market as of now.
Is there a reason why are looking specifically for CdTe?

AltE Staff
[/Absolutely. . .  $1.00/Watt vs. $4.00/Watt]
18 Posts
Apr 29, 2009 05:26 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

First Solar is the one I was able to get info from.  The specs are the same - 20-22 year rated 80% output.
First Solar has a recycling program in place.
The panels are about 77Watts/ea - about 33VDC open.
I contacted Solar City and First Solar directly.  First Solar said I had to contact Solar City directly, that they didn't work directly with businesses or consumers.
Solar City said they don't do Off-grid projects, and the grid-tie projects they do are only if it's in the try-states of OR, CA or AZ. (Even if I agreed to drive down there from WA and pick up the 50+ panels myself...)

Somebody, SOMEwhere wants to sell me CdTe panels. . .  I just have to find them. . .

A $1.00/Watt vs $4.00/Watt with virtually the same specs??? . .  Ya - I'm all over that. . .
18 Posts
Apr 29, 2009 05:29 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Thank you, Dave.
I will check out those other companies and see if I can't strike a deal. . .
2 Posts
Apr 29, 2009 10:03 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels


Let us know if you have any luck.  Just be aware, the $1.00 per Watt reports you see from First Solar are their production costs, not the market rate.  Since they don't sell directly to the public market, I'm not sure what the market rate is for these modules, but I'm willing to guess it is not $1.00 per Watt.  Unfortunately, the selling price for items is largely dictated by the market and not by production costs. 

AltE Staff
33 Posts
Apr 30, 2009 08:00 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Thank you, Dave.
I will check out those other companies and see if I can't strike a deal. . .

Probably hard to get because they are an ecological nightmare.
You can great extend the working life of solar panels just by keeping them cool so if panel makers would simply add an extra bit of heatsinking to the backside or make them where you could hook up a small 12volt automotive water pump and liquid cool them off a small radiator the 22 year lifespan would be shattered.
May 1, 2009 04:14 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

I once thought along those same lines JW and this is what I found -
 - but...
Oh! There is this one also.
« Last Edit: May 1, 2009 04:18 pm by Thomas Allen Schmidt »
May 1, 2009 04:22 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Barrowed from

April 28, 2009
Is It Time To Invest in Solar Stocks?
by J. Peter Lynch, Financial Anaylst
Q: Mr. Lynch what do you think of the general stock market at this time and more specifically about solar stocks in particular? Thanks. -- Larry D., Ridgefield CT

Larry thanks for your note.  Your question is basically identical to 80% of the questions I have been getting recently. I guess these two topics are on everyone's mind.

In my last article in, Solar Stocks: Factoring in the Boom and Bust Cycle of the Market, I mentioned that I thought that the "gloom and doom" was so pervasive that a turn in the market was warranted since stocks were very oversold. Here is what I said:

Earlier in this month (March 2009) the Dow Jones Industrial Index recorded a twelve-year low and the media was full of doom and gloom. This terrible news was all over the financial press, accompanied by scenarios of more of the same to come. In fact, the recent survey from the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) had fallen to the most bearish level in history - 70% of those surveyed felt that the direction of the market would be down over the next 6 months.

If one looked closer they would see that the "real" picture was not quite as terrible. There are two interesting items below to take note of from an historical perspective. Remember the bottom of a market is always, by definition, the period of greatest fear. I have been a student of the market since 1975 and I can assure you that there is plenty of fear out there now.

1.     The last two times the stock market hit a 12-year low was in 1974 and 1932. Both of these times proved to be once in a life time buying opportunities.

2.     The previous record of fear by the AAII survey (67% bearish) was October of 1990, the very beginning of the great bull market of the 1990's.

Nothing is 100% for sure, as we all know. But I think we are either at a significant bottom or very close to it. Everything is so "oversold" at this time, that I think the worst case is that we get a significant rally in what could still be a bear market.

Since that prescient article the general markets have basically turned around and are up an average of 10%.  On the other hand, solar stocks have literally exploded and are up an average of close to 40%.

Solar Stock Performance since 17 March 2009

 Curr Value
Average Gain = 39%

As you all know from previous articles the solar industry sector has always has a BETA much higher than the market in general. In other words, it moves with significantly more volatility in both directions than the average stock or the market indexes.  In this most recent case the solar sector moved close to 4-fold higher than the general market. A move such as this is more than likely NOT sustainable.

In regard to the general market, I think it is probably due for a correction, but I do think it is working to form a solid base for further advances and continues to have selected buying opportunities.

I also said in the article of 17 March 2009:

At the current time, 3 of the 35 solar stocks I follow are above their 50-day moving average. On the other hand 92% of the stocks (32 of 35) are below their 50-day moving average. This clearly tells me to exercise extreme caution in the solar sector.

To put it a different way, I do not think all the bad news regarding the solar sector is out yet and that there will be future negative surprises, such as earnings disappointments, inventory write-offs and possibly even bankruptcies. The solar sector will probably get carried up if the general market rallies, but since it will have to work out some additional problems; I do not think the rally will be sustainable.

What I think occurred is that the solar sector was extremely oversold in early March (down over 70% on average) and when the general market turned around the solar sector was indeed swept up with the general tide.

Unfortunately, I still believe that the solar sector is facing some serious internal problems that are bound to pop up later in 2009 and possibly into early 2010. The industry is still in the midst of a shakeout. There is tremendous overcapacity, dropping prices and weaker demand due to the worldwide financing bottleneck. This will all result in tighter margins and lower profits.

I really wish that I could go out and buy the best solar stocks and put them in a drawer for a few years and then open the drawer to spectacular profits. Unfortunately, I fear that the good old days of - "buy good stocks and hold them" are gone for the general market and certainly is not an appropriate investment strategy for a highly volatile and fledgling industry such as the solar industry.

While the future of the industry is without question extremely bright, making money in solar stocks is a speculative endeavor that carries higher risk but also holds the potential for much higher profits. However, given this high risk/return situation I feel that the solar sector will remain — for the foreseeable future — the exclusive bailiwick of nimble stock pickers and traders.
19 Posts
May 2, 2009 07:18 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

There are estimates that solar panels could easily last 50 - 80 years since they only spend a fraction of their day actually working.  In other words, if a panel is rated for a 25 year life, and it only spends 8 hours in a day working, then it stands to reason that the panel should last 75 years.

If properly taken care of, that is.

And for the record, putting water on a hot solar panel is not recommended by any manufacturer and may actually break the panel.  Proper air space behind the panel combined with not mounting them on an overly hot surface (like a dark roof) is the likely definition of 'proper care'.

I know that I've got a 10 year old panel that still puts out well over its 'rated' voltage, (1 panel of a batch of 50), so its not like it is 'unique' or anything.

33 Posts
May 5, 2009 04:37 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Solar cells are encapsulated and I'm talking about adding more heatsink to the backside mounting bracket. It's not much more aluminum or more trouble though it does thicken up the panel a bit. Encapsulating them onto a heat sink instead of just a flat sheet is the first step. Then a small box frame around it that you can pump water past the fins on the heat sink adds more cost and trouble but might be worth it. I know cooling mine down during strong sun ups their amps a good 10 15 percent reguardless if the manufacturers amp tables at various temp points says differently. Silicon seriously gets torn up past 60c and solar panels get past 75 80c all the time. Simply boxing off the very center section of the panel and pumping water past it works wonders and not much pump or water or radiator would be needed even for huge multi kv installs. The outside of the panels don't get that hot it's all in the center because the outside is able to radiate the heat away.

The financial link was not to say anything about the financial viability of the solar industry. Once people learn that easy sources of energy are best saved for rainy days (yes pun intended) then it will happen. It was to raise awareness that putting cadminum in batteries is a pain and just from what we've done with power tools and hobby and ni-cads has caused trouble. Huge solar panels with tons of cadmium in them is going to be a monster problem and you can't get them easily for that very reason. The availability of these panels might increase or it might not. Cadmium is easy to get out of batteries but it might be a huge pain to recover from these panels. I don't know the whole story.
« Last Edit: May 5, 2009 04:43 pm by Jonathan Winters »
1 Posts
May 6, 2009 10:15 am
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

There is a great document on NREL's website pertaining specifically to Cadmium use in PV.  I would recommend checking it out.  You can find it here.

A 1 kW CdTe PV array contains less Cadmium than 10 size-C NiCd batteries.

AltE Staff
33 Posts
May 7, 2009 10:30 pm
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Good find. Glad it's not that big of a problem I was thinking maybe lbs of it in an install. Well then I guess we have to find out why thier distribution system is so rigid.
May 12, 2009 05:13 am
Re: Cadmium Teluride Solar Panels

Some key elements of the First Solar recycling process include:

Funding: With the sale of each module, First Solar sets aside the funds required for the collection and recycling in a restricted account controlled by a third-party insurance company
(So, if one has purchased a Solar First PV module, they have also pre-purchased its reclamation at the end of its useful life?)

Notice: Individual modules are labeled with Web site and telephone contact information in six languages, along with instructions for the user to return the product free of charge
(If my statement above is true, then wouldn't this be a lie?)

Collection: First Solar manages the logistics of collecting each module and provides packaging and transportation to the recycling center
(For a pre-paid price at time of purchase?)
Something to think about.
A clue. The end of Section 8, Article 1.
"Why should I trade one tyrant, three thousand miles away, for three thousand tyrants one mile away?" "An elected legislature can cripple a mans rights as easily as any tyrant."
Has the U.S. government "purchased" Wall Street?
Could this be consider the first steps of a shift into socialism?

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