General Electric has shown no lack of ambition to be a big player in the solar energy market, but how well it’s doing developing cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar thin-film material remains a bit of a mystery. The company became the majority shareholder of CdTe solar panel developer PrimeStar Solar in 2008 and vowed to deliver a “breakthrough product” by devoting lots of sources to the Colorado startup.
The question is: When? We recently caught up with a GE Global Research spokesman, Todd Alhart, and asked about the company’s work with PrimeStar Solar. Last fall, GE said it would start selling CdTe solar panels in 2011, and indeed is offering three CdTe solar panel models now. The models can achieve efficiencies between 10.8 percent and 11.5 percent, which are higher than some, but not the best for CdTe panels on the market today.
GE promised to deliver something great through its investment in PrimeStar, however. The CdTe company, founded in 2006, only has a 30 MW factory, located in the Colorado city of Arvada. The factory is too small to compete effectively in a marketplace where top players run factories with hundreds of megawatts of capacities.
“We’re continuing to make good progress in the lab and [are] on track to get a product out later this year,” Alhart said via email. “We think larger volume and bigger growth opportunities will come from scaling up this technology further, and that’s what we are working on now.”...MOREPreviously:
A Pivotal Year For Thin-Film Solar Companies (FSLR; GE)
"GE Backs Stealth Solar Startup Alta Devices"
General Electric Takes Aim at First Solar NextGen, Adds CIGS to Solar Offerings:: Will Primestar CdTe Be Phased Out? (GE; FSLR; SI)
"Metrics for Thin Film Solar CIGS Company Comparisons" (FSLR; ASTI; DSTI) Miasole; Nanosolar
Watch Out First Solar: "GE outlines R&D efforts with CdTe thin-film technology" (FSLR; GE)
Q&A: Mark Little, Head of GE Global Research- "GE is pushing the smart grid and thin-film solar, but don't expect new kinds of nuclear reactors. "