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Top CdTe Solar Panel Manufacturers: Products & Strengths

Since the first prototype of crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar panel was developed in 1954, it has been continuously improved and has become a mature technology for energy conversion.

While c-Si solar panels keep on dominating the market, CdTe solar panels boast strong competitiveness in niche segments, leveraging their renowned low temperature coefficient, stellar performance under low-light conditions and huge possibilities for BIPV. 

Due to the maturity of CdTe technology and some environmental concerns, there are not a large number of manufacturers committed to CdTe solar panel manufacturing. Hence, you might feel a headache when sourcing these products.

No worries, we’ve conducted some extensive research and compiled a roster of top manufacturers that exclusively produce these panels, with introductions of their proprietary technology and projects participated in.

First Solar

First Solar

Founded in 1999, the US-based First Solar is a veteran in CdTe solar panel R&D and manufacturing.

The company has long been in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) on CdTe technology research. It plays a key role in the NREL-administered Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium (CTAC) which is designed to assist in advancing US technological leadership and competitiveness in CdTe photovoltaics.

Since its founding, First Solar has steadily set and broken numerous world records for CdTe cell efficiency. As of now, the recognized, highest record of 22.1% was set by First Solar. The company forecasts that the 25% milestone can be achieved by 2025, with pathways to hit 28% efficiency by 2030.

Its CdTe technology can deliver up to 4% more annual energy in hot climates and up to an additional 4% more annual energy in high humidity conditions.

The company’s latest Series 7 CdTe solar panels were developed based on Series 6 in close collaboration with diverse participants in the chains. As a commercialized product, Series 7 can provide up to 550 watts with up to 19.7% efficiency. Other superb features include a 30-year linear performance warranty and enhanced installation velocity.

Plus, as a responsible company, First Solar is also committed to end-of-life module recycling, being capable of recovering more than 90% of materials for reuse.

Some flagship projects that First Solar has been involved in include the 141-MW Luz Del Norte Solar PV Park, the 200-MW Sun Streams 2 Solar PV Plant, and the 480-MW Desert Quartzite Solar PV Park to get commissioned in December 2024.

Antec Solar

Antec Solar

Antec Solar is a German solar technology company founded in the state of Thüringen. It has a long history of CdTe thin-film solar panel manufacturing in Europe, considering itself a pioneering force in advancing this technology.

Several years ago, Antec Solar acquired Calyxo, another leading European CdTe manufacturer that operated under the umbrella of Q-Cells. This move blends state-of-the-art strengths of the CdTe technologies from both parties and bolsters Antec’s capability to produce competitive CdTe panels. This also helps Antec be independent of foreign supply chains and patents.

Unlike the positioning of First Solar, Antec Solar’s CdTe panel products mainly target BIPV applications, although they can be employed in regular solar projects.

The company’s CdTe products have been widely adopted as ‘energy facades’ for buildings, offering great flexibility and adaptability. These products can be either colored or custom-sized to enhance design cohesion and aesthetic harmony.

Antec claims their products can yield up to 5 % more energy in hot climates and an additional 4% more annual energy in high humidity conditions.

Toledo Solar

Toledo Solar

Toledo Solar was founded in one of US' solar panel manufacturing hubs, Ohio, in 2019. 

Despite being a young company, it has maintained a remarkable growth momentum. Now Toledo is capable of producing about 1 million CdTe solar panels per year. 

In line with Antec Solar, Toledo Solar primarily supplies the non-utility market, i.e., residential homes and commercial buildings. Their products are suitable for both BIPV and agrivoltaics applications.

Their CdTe panels are sleek, black opaque or semi-transparent ‘solar glass.’ These panels are 100% manufactured in the US using two sheets of high-strength tempered glass hermetically sealed in a frameless construction. They are compatible with existing practices for spandrel and vision glass installation.

As the demand increases, management at Toledo said the company will elevate their capacity from about 100 megawatts to three gigawatts over the next few years.

Key Takeaways

Without a doubt, the advantages of CdTe solar panels will garner increasing recognition from a broader audience. As the c-Si panel market approaches saturation, more players will shift their focus to the field of CdTe, driving innovation to address existing manufacturing limitations and unlocking the full potential of CdTe.

*If there are any other elite CdTe solar panel manufacturers not mentioned in this post. Feel free to submit via the form below. We would be grateful to hear about your experiences with their products and would love to learn from your valuable feedback.

Please share why you recommend it, and describe your experiences with its products, if any.

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