GE Unveils Largest Solar Plant

Solar Panels

GE has decided to instigate its Chinese counterparts and market leader First Solar by announcing its intentions to build the largest solar PV, 400MW capacity manufacturing plant in Aurora, Colorado, just east of Denver. The market graph was dominated by First Solar, which produces thin-film solar panels with an efficiency rate of 11.7 %. Although the company plans to increase the efficiency to 13.5 – 14.5  %by 2014, GE thin-film panels’ efficiency rate would already be 14 % when its first batch rolled out in 2013.

Victor Abate, the vice president of renewable energy at GE said its decision to enter the thin-film solar panels market was not instantaneous but involved a decade-long study of the US solar market and tracking every technology option. GE needs to bring out a better and technologically advanced product in a market that is so fiercely competitive.

The plant that highlights GE’s $600 million investment will produce panels enough to power 80,000 homes at full capacity. Once the panels become a little cheaper, households will spontaneously shift from regular grid energy to solar power. Mark Little, the global research director for GE, feels that once panel prices drop than retail prices within three to five years, people will be attracted to solar options more than before.

GE’s decision comes when solar panel prices are declining, resulting in high-profile companies hitting the dust. Though the investment period is critical, GE feels that the best technology and low-cost prices will help them beat their own game competitors. The company’s larger and lighter panel will able them to lower the costs.

GE had previously played the same game in the wind energy department when it invested $200 million a decade ago to earn a $6 billion a year business acquiring a 10 % market share. The company plans to tread the same path when dealing with its solar business.

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