GE intends to manufacture its full-size, thin film solar panels at a new U.S. factory that will be larger than any existing solar-panel manufacturing plant in operation today. When complete, the factory will highlight an expected $600 million investment made by GE in solar technology and commercialization and will be complemented by the recently announced acquisition of power conversion company Converteam. The 400-megawatt facility, which will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes annually, will employ 400 people. Multiple locations are being considered for the new facility, with the final location to be announced shortly.
GE’s panel was produced on the PrimeStar 30-megawatt manufacturing line in Arvada, Colo. It was measured by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) at a 12.8% aperture area efficiency. This panel surpasses all previously published records for CdTe thin film, which is the most affordable solar technology in the industry. Global demand for photovoltaics is expected to grow by 75 gigawatts over the next five years, with utility-scale solar power plants making up a significant part of that growth.