General Electric plans big 400 MW solar panel facility in the US

07 April 2011 18:18  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--General Electric (GE) plans to build a 400-megawatt (MW) thin film solar panel factory in the US, the US-based industrial and technology conglomerate said on Thursday.

When built, the plant will be larger than any solar panel facility currently operating in the US, the company added.

The project would “highlight an expected $600m (€420m) plus investment made by GE in solar technology and commercialisation,” it said.

GE said it would soon announce where in the US the plant will be built. It did not disclose when the facility will start up.

GE said the thin film solar panels it has developed convert solar energy into electricity more efficiently than comparable panels currently on the market.

It did not disclose what kind of interlayer the panels will use. Many solar panels manufacturers use polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers. GE media officials were not immediately available for additional comment.

“Our plan to open a US solar manufacturing facility further demonstrates our confidence in this technology and is just the first phase in a global, multi-gigawatt roadmap,” said Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy business.

GE expects the global demand for photovoltaics (PV) to grow by 75 gigawatts (GW) over the next five years, with utility-scale solar power plants making up a significant part of that growth.

In related news, market research firm Solarbuzz said on Thursday that the US solar PV project order backlog is more than 12 GW.

“The order backlog in the US confirms that the country will be one of the most promising growth markets over the next 24 months,” helping to offset the downside the PV industry faces from large cuts in feed-in tariffs in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, Solarbuzz said.

A number of chemical firms, including Dow Chemical, Wacker Chemie and Solutia, have developed the solar market as an important outlet for their products.

($1 = €0.70)

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues


By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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