Hi, Mr. Roques, interesting you should bring that up. The price of electricity does vary. The Bloomber article I cited included this:
Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE)
“If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,” Little said yesterday in an interview in Bloomberg’s Washington office. The 2009 average U.S. retail rate per kilowatt-hour for electricity ranges from 6.1 cents inWyoming to 18.1 cents in Connecticut, according to Energy Information Administration data released in April.
Good point, Flyingscot. There is some concern about diminishing government subsidies that make some wary of investing in solar power. One of the goals GE claims is after is producing solar power so efficiently that it will be as affordable as traditionally produced electricity for consumers even without subsidies. Oh, I have to get some more Kool-Aid now.
GE is using the Carousolar to promote some of its new innovations in solar panel construction. Each solar panel uses an ultra thin film module, a cadium tellurium based semiconductor, to harness the power of the sun for electricity. The panels’ sleek and durable design allow it to withstand most extreme weather conditions including high temperatures, humidity, and UV rays. According to GE, their solar panels have “the smallest carbon footprint and fastest energy payback time of current PV technologies when measured on a life cycle basis.”
While the Carousolar is a fun way to combine a familiar design with green technology, the solar panels are also a glimpse at what the future holds for solar power and other renewable energy innovation.
It also opened a solar powered car park this year:
GE estimates that its new solar carport will deliver 125 MW hours annually over its 25 year lifespan. GE is not the first to install a solar carport (the New Jersey National Guard is among those beating it to the punch), but this one is designed specifically to charge electric vehicles. GE’s partner in the project, Inovateus Solar LLC, used several different designs in order to demonstrate various options for solar charging stations and showcase GE’s new technologies. In addition to fully charging up to 13 EVs daily, the solar panels will provide enough electricity to power the carport’s own overhead lighting. The whole thing is grid-connected, so GE anticipates shuntiGE estimates that its new solar carport will deliver 125 MW hours annually over its 25 year lifespan.
In fact, a report released this morning from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association found that the U.S. has a $247 million trade surplus with China.
U.S. imports in 2010 were estimated at $1.4 billion, while exports were estimated to be between $1.7 billion - $2.0 billion based on the availability of data for capital equipment sales. This made the U.S. a net exporter of solar goods to China by $247 million to $539 million.
That is exactly what is conveyed by the blog's opening. Yes the opening sentence does say solar panels, and the word there should be "products" or something more general. Granted, one word here was off. The rest, though, makes it clear that the trade surplus is not due solely to panels.
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.......
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.
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.
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.
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