Friday, October 14, 2011

GE Shines On Colorado

And the winner is Colorado for GE's $600 million thin film solar panel manufacturing plant. Pennsylvania was apparently not in the contest. Too bad.

The plant will employ 350 people in solar jobs. Production will begin in 2012 and produce enough solar panels every year to supply 80,000 homes.

Which says more about the future of solar? Solyndra's exit. Or GE's entry.


  1. The amount of energy collected depends on the intensity and range of radiation available to the solar panels. Colorado is located in a primarily temperate zone, which means that its average temperature is more moderate than in tropical locales.

  2. I think one thing it might say, John, is that if we really hope to advance this technology and use it, we're gonna have to accept that to some degree, it's gonna be less the barefoot genius working in his mother's garage model that we so love these day and more the classic big industry model that does it. They're the ones that can achieve the economies of scale, have access to the materials, can even bottom feed in a bad market to get them, and have access to the old energy sources needed to fuel it. That leads me a question, do we know what the energy source for that Colorado plant is likely to be?

  3. Colorado has been recently a top 10 state in solar installations but I would expect most of this product to be shipped outside of Colorado. Ten years ago Colorado got 90% of its power from coal. It has been moving to gas, wind, and recently solar. But I think it still gets more than 50% of its power from coal. The GE plant is a customer of the local monopoly for power. Colorado does not allow choice or competition for retail electricity customers, unlike PA which does. The GE plant will run on the power the monopoly provides, unless it builds on site generation.

  4. I agree with Seamus that big business is driving solar or renewables and that is a good thing. But there already is a place in the solar supply chain for small businesses. That is true for wind too. There are lots of PA contractors that have worked on wind farms where GE turbines or Gamesa turbines were installed.