GE to build 400MW CdTe thin-film module plant: NREL verifies 12.8% aperture area efficiency

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With the acquisition of US-based CdTe thin-film start-up PrimeStar now behind GE, the conglomerate is planning to expand its investments in PV with the building of a 400MW manufacturing plant, potentially bringing its total investment in the sector to over US$600 million. GE also announced that NREL had verified that CdTe thin-film modules from PrimeStar’s 30MW manufacturing line in Arvada, Colorado have achieved 12.8% aperture area efficiency. NREL had transitioned the technology to PrimeStar through a cooperative research and development agreement signed in 2007.

“Milestones like these are pivotal as the United States looks to drive widespread adoption of solar technologies,” said Ryne Raffaelle, director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at NREL. “It’s great to see technology that started at NREL ready to move into the market.”

GE noted that the new plant would be built in the US, but did not provide any further details regarding the site selection timelines, although multiple locations were being considered and a decision would be made ‘shortly.’

“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. We’re not only excited by the efficiency milestone, but also by the speed at which our team was able to achieve it and the innovation runway for future improvements in this technology,” added Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy business.

GE also said that it had entered into more than 100MW of new commercial supply agreements for modules, inverters and total solar power plants.

The company highlighted agreements signed with Invenergy for the supply of thin-film solar panels and GE Brilliance inverters to the tune of 20MW as well as GE’s largest solar agreement to date is with NextEra Energy for 60MW of thin-film solar modules.

The recently proposed US$3.2 billion acquisition of Converteam would also add weight downstream for GE’s solar offerings.

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