General Electric to build US' largest solar plant at $300 mn

US diversified conglomerate General Electric (GE), which has a global renewable energy investment portfolio of $6 billion, is planning to build the largest solar module plant in the US in Colorado, despite a string of closures of solar companies in the country.

Stamford, Connecticut-based GE plans to invest about $300 million in the facility, bringing its investment in its solar business to about $600 million.

The advanced manufacturing facility will create 355 jobs in Colorado and will be larger than any existing solar panel factory in the US. GE expects the first panels to start coming off the line in 2012 and be on the market in 2013.

GE will locate the factory in an existing building in Aurora, in Denver, which is in close proximity to GE's existing solar center of excellence.

At full capacity, the new plant will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes and will be larger than 11 football fields.

Working with our Colorado-based solar team, we were able to achieve record efficiencies in our solar panels in record time,'' said Victor Abate, vice president of GE's renewable energy business. ''The Colorado location will allow us to deliver our technology roadmap faster and commercialise industry-leading panel efficiencies sooner.''