India studies show thin-film panels more suited to hot Asian climes

April 19, 2012

Thin-film solar panels may perform better in hot climates than rival crystalline products, based on half a year of data from the first Indian projects, an executive at the nation’s largest contractor on the developments said.

“The last six months for which we have data show that the performance of crystalline in hot climates is not as efficient as thin film,” said SN Subrahmanyan, senior executive vice president of construction at Larsen & Toubro. “Of course, it’s still early days. But that’s what we’re seeing.”

Concerns over use of thin-film panels were raised as First Solar, the largest supplier, in February boosted provisions for warranties by USD37.8 million due to potential for “increased failure rates in hot climates.”

Developers and their lenders are seeking data on how technologies fare in warmer conditions as Europe, the biggest solar market, cuts renewables subsidies.

Traditional crystalline modules are silicon-based, while thin-film technology coats panels with materials such as cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide and amorphous silicon.

In addition early results showed dust from desert conditions where most plants are built in Rajasthan and Gujarat states interferes with generation, while thin-film panels are easier to wash, he said.