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General Electric faces solar power setback

9th Jul 2012

It won't come as a shock to anyone that solar power has become increasingly popular over recent years - with rising bills and people being more concerned about the environment, solar can seem a pretty safe option.

In light of this, it's hardly surprising that companies are trying to get on the solar power bandwagon - and General Electric (GE) is no exception.

GE already has a pretty impressive portfolio and claims to build power generation equipment and technology that produces a quarter of the globe's electricity every day.

This hasn't stopped it identifying opportunities in solar electricity - but the plans have hit a snag.

Construction of the thin-film solar factory in Colorado has been suspended for at least 18 months, which has largely been triggered by the falling price of solar panels.

A decline in manufacturing capacity has also taken its toll - Danielle Merfeld, GE's general manager of solar technologies, explained.

Speaking to the Financial Times, she said: "We will be using the time to develop the technology the marketplace need.

"We are raising the efficiency of our panels and making other cost savings, and these combined will give us a cost position that we think will be competitive."

Solar power businesses are the same as any other company - the market conditions need to be right when they launch to make sure there's a good chance of making a profit.

Even a company as big as GE isn't immune from fluctuations in the solar industry and the firm hopes to invest the time in increasing the efficiency of its panels.

Thin-film solar cells are already being created by GE, which it believes provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional panels.

As the name would suggest, the panels need less material and are still able to achieve high levels of performance - so it's no surprise GE is keen on creating more!

Posted by Mike Peacock

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