America’s Biggest Solar Plant Dumped

Friday, August 9th, 2013
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Plans to build America’s largest solar plant Colorado have been dumped amid a massive glut in solar panels.

According to a report in The Denver Post, a company spokesperson for General Electric has confirmed the global engineering giant has abandoned its plans for the $300 million development, which was to be larger than eleven football fields and have sufficient generating capacity (400 megawatts per annum) to power up to 800 homes.

First announced in October 2011, the new plant was originally slated for completion in 2012.

It was put on hold in July last year, however, after a flood of panel imports from China caused module prices to plummet.

Prices have fallen by around 50 per cent over the past two years.

In announcing the decision, company spokesperson Lindsay Thiele said the decision was a direct result of unfavourable price movements.

“Solar-module manufacturing is very competitive, and only the most competitive technology at the most competitive cost position will succeed,” Thiele says. “We have decided that it is not in the best interest of GE, our customers or the Denver community to move forward with the build-out of this facility.”

The latest moves, which will also see the closure of the Avada research centre responsible for the thin-film technology that was to be used for the plant, are a considerable blow to Colorado as the plant was to create 355 advanced technology jobs. GE has instead sold the technology, developed by a Colorado start-up it bought, to solar energy giant First Solar in exchange for a stake in the company.

“Sometimes, timing is not on your side,” said Aurora Economic Development Council chief executive Wendy Mitchell. “It is not a good day when we lose a company.”

Ken Lund, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade says the decision was disappointing but the company had been a good partner and kept the state informed at all stages.

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