Updated: GE has decided to cancel plans to ramp its own cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film operations in Aurora, Colorado, instead selling the intellectual property portfolio to CdTe leader, First Solar.
First Solar has issued 1.75 million shares of common stock as part of the transaction, while GE will retain the shares for at least three years.
As part of the deal, GE Global Research will collaborate on future CdTe solar technology development with First Solar as well as team on commercial levels that include purchasing and branding First Solar's modules for future global GE PV power plants.
Collaboration will also include power plant equipment, such as PV central inverters, controls, balance of plant and ownership of utility-scale systems.
“We are creating an exciting synergy with this deal,” said Jim Hughes, First Solar's chief executive. “The addition of GE's PV thin film technology and R&D resources will advance our technology roadmap, while realising cost reduction in our manufacturing process.”
“To lead in today's solar industry, you must have the most competitive technology at the most competitive cost position,” said Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE's renewable energy business. “We're excited to partner with First Solar to accelerate innovation and bring our complementary technology and R&D to market faster through its manufacturing capabilities.”
GE went back to basics a year ago by temporarily halting the roll out of module production and refocus on R&D to boost module efficiencies and lower production costs to better compete with the likes of First Solar and number of CIGS start-ups.