Global demand for photovoltaics is expected to grow by 75 gigawatts over the next five years, with utility-scale solar power plants making up a significant part of that growth. To that end, GE has also completed the acquisition of PrimeStar Solar, a thin film solar technology company.
Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy business, notes, “Over the last decade, through technology investment, GE has become one of the world’s major wind turbine manufacturers, and our investment in high-tech solar products will help us continue to grow our position in the renewable energy industry. We are addressing the biggest barrier for the mainstream adoption of solar technology—cost—and the NREL certification proves that we are on track to deliver the most affordable solutions for our customers.”
According to GE, the record-setting panel was produced on the PrimeStar 30-megawatt manufacturing line in Arvada, Colo. “It was measured by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) at a 12.8 percent aperture area efficiency. This panel surpasses all previously published records for CdTe thin film, which is the most affordable solar technology in the industry. Continually increasing solar panel efficiency is a key component of GE’s goal to offer advanced solar products while reducing the total cost of electricity for utilities and consumers. In fact, a 1 percent increase in efficiency is equal to an approximate 10 percent decrease in system cost.”
Ryne Raffaelle, director of the National Center for Photovoltaics at NREL says, “Milestones like these are pivotal as the United States looks to drive widespread adoption of solar technologies. It’s great to see technology that started at NREL ready to move into the market.”
Abate adds, “Our plan to open a U.S. 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.”