Due to the falling prices of solar panels around the world, General Electric has put its 400 MW cadmium-telluride solar factory in Aurora, Colorado, on hold. This project has been in development for over a year, and was already announced when GE purchased PrimeStar Solar in April 2011.
Even though the crystalline cells are superior in terms of efficiency rates, cadmium-telluride held a lot of promise on larger scales, as they are significantly cheaper, especially when silicon prices are up.
However, the costs of solar panels have dropped significantly recently, largely due to Chinese manufacturers such as Suntech, Yingli, and Trina increasing their production.
Focuses on Next Generation Cadmium-Telluride Solar Cells
GE states that it will move its focus towards improving the technology of cadmium-telluride thin-film solar cells:
“Over the last six months with all the changes that have happened in the industry resulting in this 50% drop in module prices, given those dynamics we are putting our plant on pause essentially and we’re focusing our efforts on developing the next generation of cad-tel module technology so that we can reach higher efficiency levels and a more competitive cost position,” said Danielle Merfeld, GE’s general manager for solar technologies, told Forbes on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, General Electric has had to lay off many of its employees with just two months notice as a result of the construction halt.