On Thursday, General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced the location for it’s newest facility: a thin-film solar manufacturing plant.
The plant will be constructed in Aurora, Colorado, just east of the city of Denver and, when completed, it will be the largest solar factory in the United States.
Larger than eleven football fields, the factory will focus on the production of solar panels using cadmium telluride thin-film solar cells.
This type of cell, much cheaper to produce than the standard polycrystalline silicon cells that became popular with Asian suppliers, is the same type of cell used in industry leader First Solar’s (NASDAQ: FSLR) panels.
GE hopes that by using these types of cells, the company can drive the already-low panel price down even further and still make a profit, Vic Abate told the Huffington Post.
According to CNET, the Aurora, Colorado facility will have an annual production capacity of 400 megawatts, which is enough to power 80,000 homes.
Once the factory begins operating, it will create 355 jobs in Colorado and an additional 100 jobs at an upstate New York solar research facility.
As CNET reports, the state and federal governments aided GE in supplying jobs at the research facility and in deciding on the optimum location for the new factory.
And the location is optimum. It is situated near an already-existing manufacturing test line owned by GE, says Huffington Post, which the company hopes will enable quicker entry into the market.
As Abate told the Huffington Post, this factory is just the first of many the company plans to build worldwide. GE estimates 75,000 megawatts of solar installation over the next half a decade, and with efficient panel production GE could contribute greatly to this.
The panels will have a 14% conversion efficiency, and CNET reports that the panels production will begin by 2013.
GE foresees a potential rise in demand in the utility and commercial sectors, and the company will focus on these sectors upon their entry into the solar market.
GE was up 1.79% to $16.51 in afternoon trading on Friday.
That’s all for now,