Posting in Design
GE's plans to build a massive thin-film solar factory in Colorado designed to catapult the company to the top of the industry have been quashed by market conditions.
General Electric, looking to repeat its success scaling up its wind business, had plans to build a massive thin-film solar cell factory in Colorado that would catapult the company to the top of the industry. The solar industry has changed a lot in the past year. And so have GE's plans.
GE says it has delayed its factory build out for at least 18 months, and possibly longer, in response to current market conditions within solar manufacturing, news first reported by Gigaom.
GE company spokeswoman Lindsay Theile confirmed the company stopped major work on the factory last week and is now in the process of wrapping up a few projects before it completely shuts down.
GE suspended its factory build out due to a dramatic shift in the solar industry over the past six months, Theile told me in an interview today. She specifically cited a 50 percent price drop in solar panels and an overcapacity of solar modules as the two determining factors that prompted GE to delay its solar manufacturing plans.
The company will shift its attention and investment to R&D and focus on improving the efficiency of the thin-film technology developed by PrimeStar, a Colorado-based startup that GE acquired last year.
GE will work on technology improvements at its Colorado and New York locations. GE's solar team has been downsized as a result of the factory suspension and is most likely those folks who were working on factory operations. However, Theile wouldn't disclose the number of layoffs or provide other details about the solar team. GE tries to absorb employees into other parts of the company, she said.
The factory, the centerpiece of a $600 million investment in cadmium telluride thin film solar cells, would have put GE on a direct path to overtake market leader First Solar, which uses the same semiconductor material in its panels. The 400-megawatt factory would have had the capacity to produce enough panels a year to power 80,000 homes, GE said at the time.
GE is still committed to thin film and cadmium telluride as the semiconductor, Theile said. The company isn't abandoning other components of its solar business, either. GE spent $3.2 billion last year to buy Converteam, a company that developed conversion technology that can turn intermittent renewable energy, like wind and solar, into reliable power for the grid. The business unit, which is now called Power Conversion, makes inverters used in solar modules.
GE also continues to finance and invest in solar power projects, Theile said.
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Jul 3, 2012
SOLAR ENERGY WILL SOON POWER THE WORLD Did not the investigating commission that was appointed by the Japanese Parliament just concluded, That It was very sadly a Profoundly Man-made Disaster that Could and Should have Been Foreseen and at all cost been Prevented.??? This commission dose hold the Japan Government, Regulators and its Nuclear Owners and Operators Responsible for the Meltdown that occurred at Fukushima, after a Powerful Earthquake that generated a Large Tsunami that struck the country???s northeast coast in March of the year 2011. This Plant was built by "GE" or know as "General Electric" A American Company and there are 23 of them in America just like the one they built at Fukushim Japan. At least one in the state of Illinois. Thank GOD Illinois does not have a lot of Earthquakes. Yet ? and are the 23 power plants that are built just like the Fukushima one Safe of the 100+ Nuclear Power Plants in the United States of America??? Or are they a Disaster looking to come? There is enough Energy coming from our SUN in a day to power all our needs on Earth for for a long time. Solar Energy is Safe and Clean and Can Power All Are Needs and much more. There is enough Energy coming from our SUN in a day to power all our needs on Earth for for a long time. This was told by two men 100 years ago and 2,242 years ago. Told by most all Scientist that these two men were of the World s most smartest men to ever live on Earth they were Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Scientist and Inventors of many things "Archimedes and Albert Einstein". The smartest to ever to walk on Earth was are Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord's Little Helper Paul Felix Schott PS So why on Earth is anyone still looking at Dirty, Unsafe or Disastrous Energy like Oil, Coal and Nuclear Power Plants. These two are at the top of the list of the World???s Greatest Scientists, Viewed by Scientist around the World. Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90% of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for. It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).