General Electric Co. (GE) expects sales of its solar power panels to exceed $1 billion annually by 2020, Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said at Columbia University event in New York with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I know that by 2020 this is going to be at least a $1 billion product line. We’re going to invest what it takes,” Immelt said. ”We did this with no government funding.”
If his optimistic projection becomes a reality, it will be good news for Colorado workers. The company recently selected Aurora for the site of its new $300 million thin-film solar panel manufacturing plant.
The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company said the new facility will make enough panels using cadmium telluride annually for about 80,000 U.S. homes, or 400 megawatts. The panels be more efficient, lighter weight and larger than conventional thin film panels.
Colorado beat out 10 other states to land the investment, including New York, because of its strong workforce, proximity to one of GE’s existing “centers of excellence” and availability of needed infrastructure.
Victor Abate, head of GE’s renewable energy business said that the work the company has done with its Colorado-based solar team allowed them to “achieve efficiencies in our solar panels in record time.”
In addition, “The Colorado location will allow us to deliver our technology roadmap faster and commercialize industry-leading panel efficiencies sooner,” Abate said.
“We also look forward to continuing to build our relationships with Colorado’s local, state and federal officials who have been extremely helpful as we moved through the site selection process,” Abate added in the release.