GE Plans to Build Largest Solar Panel Plant in U.S.

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GE Plans to Build Largest Solar Panel Plant in U.S.

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Summary

General Electric announced plans to build the nation’s biggest solar panel factory, though it has not yet decided the location.  The move continues GE's expanding energy-focused work, particularly through acquisitions. The solar photovoltaic market is growing, driven in part by the U.S. government offering financial support to help American solar panel makers -- including loan guarantees for new factories -- to increase the amount of solar panel manufacturing.  Victor Abate, who is responsible for the solar, wind, and renewable energy units at GE, stated that the deciding factor to build the solar panel factory was enhancing the effectiveness of cadmium telluride-based thin film panels to a record 12.8 percent, which is also a factor in reducing costs. These articles discuss the project in more depth and touch on the ecological improvements this venture will bring, as well as the social advantage: the creation of more than 400 jobs within the plant.

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 5:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Energy at GE

CONTENT: Blog

General Electric Co. (GE) plans to select a location in about three months for a U.S. solar-panel plant that may be the country’s largest. With the new facility, the total investment in the solar business will exceed $600 million, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE said today in a statement. The plant will employ about 400 people and make enough panels annually for operators to generate power for 80,000 U.S. homes, or about 400 megawatts.

 
It was already a big week in solar news before General Electric today announced major plans to build a thin film solar factory that will be the largest in the country. The factory will potentially produce 400 MW worth of panels a year. The plant's location hasn't been pinpointed yet, but GE believes it will bring in "400 workers and create 600 related jobs." GE also has completed its acquisition of PrimeStar Solar, a Colorado company that was producing 30 MW of panels a year.
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SAN FRANCISCO — In a move that could shake up the American solar industry, General Electric plans to announce on Thursday that it will build the nation’s largest photovoltaic panel factory, with the goal of becoming a major player in the market. “For the past five years, we’ve been investing extremely heavily in solar,” said Victor Abate, vice president for G.E.’s renewable energy business. “Going to scale is the next move.” The plant, whose location has not been determined, will employ 400 workers and create 600 related jobs, according to G.E. The factory would annually produce solar panels that would generate 400 megawatts of energy, the company said, and would begin manufacturing thin-film photovoltaic panels made of a material called cadmium telluride in 2013. While less efficient than conventional solar panels, thin-film photovoltaics can be produced at a lower cost and have proven attractive to developers and utilities building large-scale power plants.
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About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.
 
Citizenship at GE is more than a program or a set of good intentions - it is a full-time commitment built upon cultural behaviors and actions. These actions are integrated with business strategy and have defined goals, strategies and metrics that make it actionable and accountable.
 
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Keywords: Energy | Energy | GE | Primestar Solar | Technology | photovoltaic market | solar panels

CAMPAIGN: Energy at GE

CONTENT: Blog