SOLAR POWER PANELS NOW COST BELOW $1 PER WATT TO PRODUCE

First Solar Broke $1 Per Watt Barrier in Q4 2008

First Solar, Inc. recently announced it reduced its manufacturing cost for solar modules in the fourth quarter to 98 cents per watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier.

“This achievement marks a milestone in the solar industry’s evolution toward providing truly sustainable energy solutions,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar chief executive officer. “First Solar is proud to be leading the way toward clean, affordable solar electricity as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”

First Solar began full commercial operation of its initial manufacturing line in late 2004. From 2004 through today, the company reports that manufacturing capacity has grown 2,500% to more than 500MW in 2008. First Solar expects annual production capacity to double in 2009 to more than 1GW, the equivalent of an average-sized nuclear power plant. These escalating volumes have been accompanied by a rapid reduction in manufacturing costs. From 2004 through today, First Solar’s manufacturing costs have declined two-thirds from more than $3 per W to less than $1 per W. First Solar is confident that further significant cost reductions are possible based on the untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.

First Solar says that it is not only committed to making solar power affordable, but also to making it environmentally sustainable. The Company takes responsibility for its products throughout their life cycle, ensuring that First Solar modules have the smallest carbon footprint of any current photovoltaic (PV) technology. First Solar has implemented an end-of-life module collection and recycling program, recycling more than 90% of each collected module into new products.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 24th June 2009

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