Thursday, March 18, 2010

Watch Out First Solar: "GE outlines R&D efforts with CdTe thin-film technology" (FSLR; GE)

It's about time, see links below.
From PV Tech:
Via its majority-share holding in PrimeStar Solar, GE has outlined its R&D efforts with CdTe thin-film technology. GE said that hundreds of technologists in Germany, China, India and the United States are working on solar technologies. The company noted that it was utilizing its four Global Research operations to address each of the challenges required to bring a new CdTe thin-film product to market.

A team of PrimeStar technologists are working closely with GE researchers that are focused on device efficiency, reliability, production, and installation costs as well as manufacturability.

A research team based in Munich, Germany, was said to be utilizing world-class indoor and outdoor solar system test facilities where they study finished module performance. A key project focus is to identify and address degradation mechanisms and packaging issues. System-level optimized features and module metrics are also being investigated, according to GE.

Another team based at the John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, India, has been given the role of building comprehensive models to help guide advanced device design.

In China, where most of the world’s CdTe raw materials are found, researchers at GE’s China Technology Center in Shanghai are focused on CdTe materials and the impact they have on device performance. Key topics being addressed by the Shanghai team include improving material quality and developing advanced materials characterization techniques.

“After having completed an exhaustive survey of the PV landscape, we determined that thin films were the optimum path for GE,” said Danielle Merfeld, GE’s solar R&D leader. “Specifically, the CdTe technology from PrimeStar has great potential. Bringing together world-class materials expertise, unique materials, and systems modeling and design capabilities and state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor solar testing facilities, GE researchers are innovating across our four global research centers—literally around the clock—to deliver a breakthrough product to market.”
We've been following this one for a while:

Nov. 2007
Transcript: Jeffrey Immelt of GE

June 11, 2008
GE Bets on Solar with Majority Primestar Stake

June 2008
First Solar, PrimeStar Solar and Cadmium Risks (FSLR; GE)

June 26, 2008
GE's PrimeStar Reveals Secret Strategy to Kill First Solar (FSLR)

June 2009
Solar: PrimeStar Preps for CdTe Panel Launch (GE, FSLR)

Sept. 2009
GE: "Solar business is our 'next wind'" (GE; FSLR)

We have a lot of links on GE solar. The piece I most enjoyed writing was "GE gets grant to install GE solar panels on GE headquarters":

Energy Fund Pays General Electric To Buy GE
General Electric gets state grant to buy GE-made solar panels

The PR flack was quoted as saying:

“It’s a good demonstration project for the technology,” O’Toole said.

Asked why a large, profitable corporation like GE would need financial help from the state, O’Toole said one reason “is to show you have to invest in new technologies. Companies cannot do it alone.”

In other GE news, spokesmen did comment on whether PR spin could be harnessed as an inexhaustible and eternal source of power.

GE's 2006 revenues were $168,307,000,000

Among cities its size Hartford's child poverty rate is the second highest in the country. In greater Hartford, 100,000 people receive food from food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, and 40,000 of them are children.

The grant to GE is funded by an electric bill surcharge, levied on every household in the state....
That, gentle reader, is how business is done!...
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. "
GE sees solar becoming $1 bln business
GE's Immelt reduced to whining after homicidal rant from Jack Welch (GE)