That is really the SUNNY side to US trade with China. US has always been at the forefront in developing cutting edge technologies and China is normally the first to cash in on new technologies with cheaper products. But for solar panels business it looks to be that US has managed to keep up with the prodcution also especially of the newer technology solar panels.
Yes, and GE is very proud of its solar panels. It is showing it off with solar powered carousel, called Carousolar. This revamped, all white carousel was introduced at the South by Southwest conference this year and is now at South Street Seaport in NYC. You can catch a free ride or charge up your device on the solar powered stations there until September 6th. Beyond rides, though, thin film solar panels should be possible to use in mobile devices. Apple is reported to be exploring such a possibility.
Unfortunately, this article contains at least two inaccurate statements, not including the title. The report covered the entire solar value chain, not only solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The United States is a net importer of Chinese PV panels, but a net exporter of polysilicon and manufacturing equipment to China.
Also, the world record for conversion efficiency for mass-produced thin film PV modules, 13.4%, was set by Q-Cells subsidiary Solibro as of March of this year. The company has been manufacturing 13% efficient thin film modules for some time.
Is it possible to get an estimate of the investment on solar in US and China? As your article says, 140 Billion is quite a huge market and i wonder how much buzz is there in the industry. Do you also know what is the roadmap of GE interms of efficiency of cheap thin film based solar panels?
As one of the authors of this report, it's disturbing to see how wrong the author got it. As the previous poster says, the US was NOT a net exporter of panels to China, or the world - it was an importer in both cases by a substantial degree. What it was a net exporter of was TOTAL solar goods, mainly because of polysilicon and capital equipment exports. Please read the study more carefully.
Also, it really looks like you are drinking the GE kool-aid all the way. That 12.8% is a RECORD EFFICIENCY panel, which has been easily surpassed by a number of thin film firms - the record currently stands at 19.9% for CIGS technology, and at the 16% level for CdTe. These are carefully engineered cells, not representative of mass production results, and even in that case, Solibro has produced a higher efficiency panel in mass production.
Shouldn't a prerequisite to writing about a subject be some background knowledge about it? Seems to be lacking in the case of the author.
Thanks for the comment. I don't claim to be an expert on solar panel, but I am fairly careful about representing source material accurately. To clarify: in the blog I do not asser that the US is a net exporter of panels but represented the source's assertions that the US is a net exporter of "solar products." The words of the blog itself are: "US shipments of solar products to China far exceed imports from the Asian rival by a range of $247 million to $539 million." The references to solar panels come from other articles cited that refer to those specificially. I regret if you were mislead by the title, but I did not write it.
"The record-setting panel was produced on the PrimeStar 30-megawatt manufacturing line in Arvada, Colo. It was measured by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) at a 12.8 percent aperture area efficiency. This panel surpasses all previously published records for CdTe thin film, which is the most affordable solar technology in the industry. "
As for drinking the Kool-Aid, I originally did include the point made in an aritcle that at most the GE plant would only account for 3% of global demand for solar power, but that was edited out (perhaps due to space limitations). Such a small plant could make a difference for the 80,000 homes it could power, but it won't change the face of the globe. As with many forays into renewable energy, I don't think much will change overnight, but each development forges the way for further innovations and improvements.
Thanks for pointing this out, c.roselund. Again, I never claimed to be a solar panel expert, and this blog was more concerned with the US role in solar power as exemplified by GE than an overall assessment of the industry in every country. The people at National Renewable Energy Lab are the ones who declared the GE thin film solar panel, "independently certified as the most efficient ever publicly reported milestone for the technology" in April 2011. So a challenge to that assessment should really be directed at the lab.
When in a hole, it is best to stop digging. You should cite the NREL statment for independent verification. I doubt that when the details are examined they will be incorrect. It is well known knowledge within the industry that Solibro has posted higher than 12.8% efficiencies for mass-produced cells - but perhaps you are confusing cadmium telluride record efficiencies with overall thin-film efficiencies. Also, note that the measurement of efficiencies is specific to what is produced, with record aperature area efficiencies higher than cell efficiencies, and module efficiencies even lower.
As for the statement about PV "products" and "panels", it remains that the first sentence of this article and the title are both incorrect. The professional thing to do would be to change them and issue a retraction.
Also, it does not take a subject area expert to read the executive summary of a report.
I see Ariella's blog has got us all talking which is a good thing. In the UK we are experiencing aa lot of hard selling of solar panel installations but as yet the uptake has not been strong. Even with the generous government grants the solar investment would pay back about 7% pa at best which is not too attractive given the amount of upfront investment required by the home owner and risk of breakdown etc. I hear Germany is embracing large commercial solar installations but I am not sure if smaller households are instaling them there. It would be interesting to see what the uptake is like around the world from all our readers.......
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Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.