GE selects Colorado for largest solar module plant in US

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

On the eve of largest solar power event in the US, GE has announced the location of where it will build what it claims to be the largest solar module plant in the US, having initially announced plans in April 2011. GE said it had selected a site in an existing building in Aurora, just east of Denver, Colorado, which is near to the company's existing solar centre of excellence. It said that the new CdTe thin-film plant is expected to start ramping in 2012 with commercial availability in 2013.

In April, GE noted that its total investment in a new manufacturing facility could take its commitment to the sector to over US$600 million. The proposed plant would have a capacity of 400MW.

However, GE’s bragging rights may be overdone. Direct technology rival and market leader, First Solar is building a new plant in Mesa, Arizona that is capable of being equipped with 10 thin-film production lines with total capacity approaching 700MW.

Initially, First Solar is installing four lines that would provide at least 250MW of annual capacity. First Solar also expected to employ around 600 workers when ramped. GE expects to employ around 355.

Though scant on details and overbearing on backslapping, GE said in a statement that the Colorado plant would fabricate a significantly revised module design, highlighting the work undertaken to improve the cost competitive aspects of the NREL-based technology that was transitioned originally to PrimeStar, which GE subsequently acquired.

GE noted that the modules would be more efficient, lighter weight and larger than conventional thin-film panels. Though details were not disclosed, GE had said in April that NREL had verified that CdTe thin-film modules from PrimeStar’s 30MW manufacturing line in Arvada, Colorado, had achieved 12.8% aperture-area efficiency, but no real-world total-area figures were provided.

Clearly, GE has had to work on ensuring that its high-volume CdTe thin-film modules could give First Solar’s a run for their money and the larger-sized panels (no actual details) could be the significant edge over the current market leader. Backed up by lighter weight, GE touted that the combination lowered BOS costs.

“We are building out our global solar business now because of our technology innovation and economics. We remain on track to deliver the most affordable solutions for our customers as we continuously improve this technology,” noted Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s Renewable Energy business.

GE and First Solar would seem to be guiding production ramps roughly at the same time, late next year, which could prove to be an interesting apples-to-apples ramp rate showdown, in more ways than one.

19 August 2021
The utility-scale PV market is poised for exponential growth and yet the industry still has many fundamental opportunities to improve on standards and best practice. Tracker shade loss has been one of those topics that deserve more attention, but has been typically handled by derate factors rather than trying to accurately forecast the loss over the life of the system. Join Nextracker’s subject matter experts, Aron Dobos and Neelesh Umachandran, and Rounak Kharait, director of solar energy assessments at DNV, for a webinar about why shade modeling matters and recommendations on what the solar industry should do about it.
25 August 2021
Energy Next is a new industry exhibition focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technology, which will be held for the first time in 2021 in Sydney, Australia alongside the Clean Energy Council’s Australian Clean Energy Summit, the peak gathering of leaders driving Australia's energy transformation. Organised by the same people behind Australia’s largest clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, Energy Next will give visitors two days of access to key suppliers in the industry, free-to-attend professional development and industry workshops, and networking opportunities to better understand clean energy issues and solutions and learn about the latest developments in this transformational, dynamic sector.
25 August 2021
The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. It addresses leading local and international experts on solar power and renewable energy in the region. The Summit’s mission is to provide in-depth education, enable high-quality networking opportunities, expand the use of PV technologies at regional and national level and strengthen the local PV industry. The Intersolar Summit Brasil Nordeste is organized by Intersolar South America - Latin America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry: Solar Promotion International GmbH, Pforzheim, Freiburg Management and Marketing International GmbH (FMMI) and Aranda Eventos & Congressos Ltda, São Paulo as co-organizer.
25 August 2021
Join us to hear directly from the CTOs and heads-of-research from the top-20 cell/wafer producers to the PV industry today. The event will focus on predicting the key metrics underpinning the next big shift to n-type with answers to the key questions: When will the transition to n-type happen? Which companies will be first to 10 GW capacity and production? Who will be the key equipment suppliers for the new production lines? Which n-type process flow/architecture will emerge as the front-runner? What will polysilicon purity and wafer thickness levels look like for optimized n-type manufacturing? What will the upstream poly/wafer supply-chain look like in 5 years from now?
26 August 2021
In this webinar, JA Solar will present its product portfolio based on the latest technologies to improve your PV projects, ensuring maximum reliability and performance. During the webinar we will receive insight from JA Solar about its solar technology roadmap and how the manufacturer is providing customers with innovative solutions to suit their needs, while we will also analyse how to determine the best product solution for each solar project.
6 September 2021
The 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held online from 6 - 10 September 2021, allowing PV experts from all around the globe to participate with just one click! The EU PVSEC is the world's leading forum for PV Research and Development and the biggest Conference on PV Solar Energy worldwide. That is why PV experts from all around the globe are keen on gathering together each year to be part of this specialist’s event, to present and discuss the latest developments in Photovoltaics, to network and to conduct business.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
July 28, 2021
Amidst a need to scale up solar this decade, PV Tech Premium speaks to Vassilis Papaeconomou, managing director at renewables service provider Alectris, to learn how the solar industry can scale up efficiently, what asset owners and operators need to be aware of when buzzwords such as ‘digitalisation’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ are mentioned, and what the industry might learn from more mature technologies such as wind.
July 28, 2021
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has unveiled formal plans to replace its existing solar support framework with a new incentive programme which will support up to 3.75GW of new solar over the next five years.
July 28, 2021
Generating electricity from renewable sources in Europe is now half the price of fossil fuels as polluting power production on the continent fails to recover from the pandemic and renewables grow, according to a new report by the Ember energy thinktank.
July 28, 2021
Solar and storage provider Sunnova, SolarEdge Technologies and National Grid have partnered on a grid stability project in New England, US
July 28, 2021
Two US Senators have introduced a bipartisan energy tax proposal to encourage innovation in the clean energy sector and rapidly scale up new technologies.
July 28, 2021
Chinese inverter manufacturer Sungrow has opened another research and development (R&D) centre in Nanjing, China that will focus on smart technologies, big data and software integration

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
August 19, 2021
At 9am (PT) | 6pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
August 25, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK