General Electric has announced plans to build the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the United States. The project is estimated to cost around $600 million, and will deliver about 400 megawatts of production of thin-film solar.
The company hopes that by going bigger on the production side they can deliver economies of scale and make solar panels more affordable for the masses. Additionally, the plant will produce panels that achieve record efficiency levels (around 12.5% of sunlight will be converted into electricity).
GE plans to open the plant in 2013, when it will no doubt be facing stiff solar competition. Colorado-based Abound Solar plans on building an even larger plant than GE's that will open in 2014. And Chinese silicon solar panels will provide additional products to the greatly expanding market.
The good news for consumer. The more players in the game, the better the products and the cheaper they'll be. So maybe the layman will have a solar array sooner than we would have thought.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons