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Dollar-a-Watt Solar March 1, 2009

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, solar.
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This week, First Solar, Inc announced tests for thin-film photovoltaic panels that dropped the cost per watt generated below $1 per watt.  When First Solar began operation in 2004, they were manufacturing panels at $3 per watt.

First Solar, of Tempe, Arizona, is using cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology and needs to get the costs below 65 cents if the installed costs make it beneficial to be installed commercially. Solar panels generally cost $4.81 per watt in commercial quantities.  (The lowest thin film module price commercially available is $3.57 per watt in a 60 watt module.)

Unfortunately, a Popular Mechanics review suggests this technology can’t scale up fast enough or easily enough to make much of an impact on national energy needs.  CdTe raw materials are difficult to extract and require a great amount of energy to convert into a usable crystalline form.

Cyrus Wadia, a researcher with Univerity of California – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, warns that

“Even if the solar cell market were to grow at 56 percent a year for the next 10 years—slightly higher than the rapid growth of the past year — photovoltaics would still only account for about 2.5 percent of global electricity”

Wadia admits First Solar is capable of producing small quantities of solar cells,  “But as soon as they have to start rolling out terawatts, that’s where I believe they will reach some limitations.”

And “even if the solar cell market were to grow at 56 percent a year for the next 10 years—slightly higher than the rapid growth of the past year—photovoltaics would still only account for about 2.5 percent of global electricity.”

sources:

popular mechanics
First Solar Press Release
Solarbuzz Module Prices, Feb 09

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Comments»

1. Mike - March 2, 2009

Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

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Don’t pay for your electricity any longer…
Instead, the power company will pay YOU!

2. First Solar Producing Panels For $.98 A Watt « Tenagasurya's Blog - June 29, 2009

[…] ¤Solar – BusinessInsider.com ¤How To Get Solar Power On Your Farm Or Ranch For Cheap ¤Dollar-a-Watt Solar « Alternatives in Energy Production ¤solar « Alternatives in Energy Production Pict Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

3. James Smith - March 13, 2010

sunelec.com is selling $1.20 a watt panels right now.If you buy the rest of the system from them they will sell you the 60 watt kaneka panels for 98 cents per watt. This is the actual retail price not the production cost price.For a while they were selling whole crates of 25 panels at 98 cents per watt but got smart and now require you purchase other items to get this price.Their other products are fairly reasonable though so still not a bad idea.

4. Clement Kuzia - February 14, 2013

I agree, but we all need to appreciate that adding Solar on their house is an purchase that should increase the long term value of their residence if / when they come to a decision to sell. With the environment the way it is going we are not able to overlook any solution that delivers 100 % free power at no cost to both the shopper and more significantly the world!


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