First Solar has patented a photovoltaic device with a unique absorber layer made of selenium, eliminating the need for cadmium sulfide. The layer stack includes varying selenium concentrations, enhancing efficiency. The device also features a p+ type semiconducting layer for improved performance. GlobalData’s report on First Solar gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData


Premium Insights First Solar Inc - Company Profile

Buy the Report

Premium Insights

The gold standard of business intelligence.

Find out more

According to GlobalData’s company profile on First Solar, Photovoltaic roof tiles was a key innovation area identified from patents. First Solar's grant share as of January 2024 was 38%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Photovoltaic device with selenium absorber layer, no cadmium sulfide

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: First Solar Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11876140B2) discloses a photovoltaic device featuring a unique design aimed at enhancing solar energy conversion efficiency. The device includes a transparent layer stack and an absorber layer made of cadmium, selenium, and tellurium. Notably, the atomic concentration of selenium varies across the thickness of the absorber layer, with a higher concentration at the front interface compared to the back interface. The absorber layer is divided into two regions, each with a specific thickness range and selenium concentration ratio, contributing to improved performance. Additionally, a p+ type semiconducting layer, comprising various compounds like zinc telluride and copper telluride, is included in the device structure.

Furthermore, the patent claims highlight the absence of a window layer and the complete elimination of a cadmium sulfide layer in the photovoltaic device. The design emphasizes optimizing selenium concentration, grain boundaries, and layer thickness to enhance overall efficiency. The device's unique structure and composition, including the presence of oxygen in limited amounts, contribute to its effectiveness in converting solar energy into electricity. With an average atomic concentration of selenium within a specific range, the device aims to provide a sustainable and efficient solution for solar power generation. The patent underscores the importance of selenium distribution, layer configuration, and material composition in achieving optimal performance in photovoltaic applications.

To know more about GlobalData’s detailed insights on First Solar, buy the report here.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.