GE Global Team Targets Simplifying Home Solar PV Installations

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For the multitudes of those who champion solar energy but find it too expensive to install it on their own homes, the team of scientists and engineers at GE Global Research has set out to simplify and reduce the cost of solar PV installations.

This endeavor is taking place through two projects that are part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative.

According to Charlie Korman, manager of Solar Energy Programs at GE Global Research, the average cost today of installing a solar system on a typical home runs $6.50 per-watt, totaling the hefty sum of $32,500 – a prohibitive amount for many, especially in gaunt economic times. “We want to cut the cost by more than half, Korman said in a GE press announcement.  “At less than half the price, solar systems will be practical for millions of homeowners in the United States,”

He added that even though the price of rooftop solar has dropped due to the growing number of installations – even so, the prices are not close to competitive with current electricity rates. That will require getting solar installations into the $3.00 per-watt range. Such a price point will make rooftop solar more attractive to a substantial number of U.S. consumers who embrace renewable energy over fossil fuels.

The first of the two projects is a $2.9 million program to improve some of the underlying technologies in residential solar systems that help reduce the cost of key components. This complements another program GE has underway with the New York State Energy Research Development Authority to reduce the costs of residential solar installations. The second program is a $3 million project focused on commercial rooftop applications. The goal here is to develop pre-wired and pre-configured components for easier installation of solar systems onto commercial rooftops.

The two GE solar projects with the DOE are aligned with GE’s ecomagination initiative, a commitment to bring new technologies and products to market that can provide cleaner, sustainable worldwide.

GE Global Research has sites in Niskayuna, New York; Bangalore, India; Shanghai, China; and Munich, Germany. A fifth global research facility is set to open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.

We wait to welcome more positive news on the economic side from these research and development facilities. The news can’t come soon enpugh.

Photo:  jeremy.blum


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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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