Contrary to some erroneous press reports, First Solar has not said at all said that its modules are not suited for hot climates. Quite on the contrary, First Solar modules have some important advantages in hot climates, such as its modules’ lower temperature coefficient, which means that they perform better under high-temperature conditions than conventional photovoltaic (PV) technologies.
Third-party testing and commercial results validate that First Solar modules produce higher energy yields than silicon modules. Systems using First Solar modules produce higher performance ratios as a result. First Solar technology is being deployed in the largest sites in the world in some of the toughest desert conditions, and the world’s most reputable renewable investors continue to invest in projects using First Solar modules. The company conducts extended accelerated life tests beyond the requirements of international standards to demonstrate its modules’ robustness.
It is important to understand that heat accelerates physical processes for all PV technologies, and therefore First Solar believes and stated that its PV modules are potentially subject to increased failure rates in hot climates. Again, we stresses that we expect this to be true for all PV technologies. First Solar’s experience to-date shows that warranty return rates from hot climates are slightly higher than the return-rate from temperate climates. As a result, the company took a prudent and conservative approach and increased its warranty accrual rate proportionally (by one percentage point) because it expects a greater percentage of its production to be installed in hot climates going forward. We expect other solar module manufacturers to make similar adjustments as they begin to deploy a larger percentage of their modules into hotter climates. First Solar has not changed its expectation for system performance in hot climates.
Furthermore, we are committed to continuous improvement, and hot climate performance is a key factor in how First Solar engineers and manufactures its modules world-wide. The company is incorporating what it has learned through testing, real-time monitoring of in-field performance, and analyzing warranty returns to make its product even better.