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GE plans 400-megawatt solar panel manufacturing plant in U.S.

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General Electric outlined plans to build a thin film solar panel plant in the U.S. The company also highlighted more than 100 megawatts of new orders for its thin film solar panels.

General Electric on Thursday outlined plans to build a thin film solar panel plant in the U.S. The company also highlighted more than 100 megawatts of new orders for its thin film solar panels.

When GE's plant is finished it will be the largest solar panel factory in the U.S. At capacity the new plant will produce 400 megawatts of solar panel capacity and employ 400 people. GE will invest about $600 million in solar technology and commercialization.

GE also recently acquired power conversion company Converteam, which rides shotgun with the solar efforts.

The news comes with a few moving parts. GE rounded its efforts up in a statement. Among the key items:

  • GE completed the acquisition of PrimeStar Solar, a thin film solar company already majority owned by the company. GE will add PrimeStar's photovoltaic solar to its portfolio.
  • PrimeStar brings a 30 megawatt manufacturing facility in Arvada, Colo. to GE. GE said it will continue to push the efficiency ratings of PrimeStar's thin film panels.
  • GE said it has landed more than 100 megawatts of new commercial deals for the solar thin film products. These agreements include panels, inverters and solar power plans. NextEra Energy occupies the bulk of the megawatts announced with a 60 megawatt pact. Invenergy, a clean energy company, has signed a 20-megawatt solar deal.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure