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GE Thin Film Solar Panel Efficiency Milestone Leads to New Plant

Written By: John Shimkus General Electric Co. (GE) is certainly making its mark in the world of renewable energy. Now, the company has achieved yet ano...

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|Apr 30|magazine5 min read

Written By: John Shimkus

General Electric Co. (GE) is certainly making its mark in the world of renewable energy. Now, the company has achieved yet another milestone, this time in the thin film solar panel market. GE announced today that it has achieved the highest publicly reported efficiency for a full-size thin film solar panel. With the announcement, GE has stated plans to build the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the U.S.

The company has proven 13 percent efficiency—sunlight converted to electricity—in its new full-size thin film solar panels. GE says that every one percent increase in solar panel efficiency translates into a 10 percent cost reduction in the overall system. The company already has 100 MW of new orders for its thin film solar panels.

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GE will invest $600 million to build the new manufacturing plant, which will manufacture 400 MW of solar panels per year. That’s enough energy generation to power 320,000 homes annually.

GE also announced Thursday that it has completed the acquisition of Colorado’s PrimeStar Solar, and Colorado may be in the running as a possible location for the new manufacturing plant, although GE management has yet to release official details on the plant’s location. Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy division, has stated that the plant’s location will be announced within the next 90 to 100 days and production would begin by 2013.