US technology giant General Electric (GE) has unveiled plans to build the largest solar factory in the US to be located in Aurora, Colorado.
The facility will produce high-efficiency thin film panels and is expected to create 355 advanced technology jobs over the next three to five years. In addition, the company plans to add another 100 people to its renewable energy headquarters and research centre in Niskayuna, New York state, with a focus on reducing the production costs for solar.
GE engineers are currently engaging with two projects as part of the US Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative designed to drive down the cost of photovoltaic modules. The first is a $2.9m study aimed at improving technologies in residential PV products and the other is a $3m endeavour focussed on commercial rooftop applications.
Charlie Korman, manager of solar energy programmes at GE Global Research, said, ‘Today, the average cost of installing a solar system on a typical home is $6.50 per watt, or $32,500. We want to cut the cost by more than half. At less than half the price, solar systems will be practical for millions of homeowners in the US. To achieve such a radical cost reduction, new technologies are needed to simplify and standardise how solar installations are made. The process has to be as routine as putting a new roof on your home.’
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