GE halts construction on solar panel factoryJuly 9, 2012
Company halts solar panel facility project in Colorado
General Electric (GE) has announced that it has halted the construction of a 400 megawatt cadmium-telluride solar panel manufacturing facility in Aurora, Colorado. The project has been in its development phase for over a year now. GE first announced the project after the purchase of PrimeStar Solar in April 2011. GE had aimed to produce cost-effective, yet high performance solar panels that could serve as an alternative to conventional solar panels. The rapid drop in the price of conventional solar panel technology has caused the company to put its plans on hold.
Cadmium-telluride solar panels take a step back from commercialization
GE believes that cadmium-telluride solar panels could have been the key to efficient and affordable solar energy. These solar panels showed a great deal of promise, especially in industrial applications. These types of solar panels can be manufactured more affordably because they do not use silicon, which allows them to be sold at lower prices when silicon prices are rising. Despite their affordability, GE has been unable to match the pace at which the price for conventional solar energy technology has been dropping.
Halted project will grant engineers time to produce more competitive solar energy products
According to GE, the project will be on hold for six months. During this time, GE engineers will be working on ways to improve the company’s cadmium-telluride thin-film solar cells. The company is looking to boost the efficiency and energy production capabilities of its energy systems in the hopes of making them more competitive with conventional solar energy systems.
Dropping price of solar panels may be a factor in GE decision
The dropping prices of solar panels is due, in part, to the saturation of the market. Chinese solar panel manufacturers have been able to introduce a large amount of solar panels to the international market, causing a rapid drop in price due to abundant supply. For companies like GE, this means that new marketing strategies must be devised in order to profit from new solar energy technology.
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