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GE invests $2.5M in solar company

Posted: 24 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar power? solar cell?

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, is investing $2.5 million and providing the power of GE's ecomagination program to solar power company Soliant Energy.

The company founded by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers is developing what it intends to be the most efficient and lowest cost technology to generate electricity from the sunlight that shines on commercial rooftops; a market it estimates will reach $13.2 billion by 2010. GE estimates that commercial and industrial buildings comprise 60 percent of the total roof area in the United States.

Soliant's goal is to deliver commercial building owners the highest return on their solar investment. The company's rooftop concentration modules aim to be the market's most efficient, and will deliver the highest total energy yield when integrated into complete rooftop systems. Compatible with conventional racks and inverters, its modules leverage high efficiency solar cells and integrated two-axis tracking to maximize the total energy harvest. This increased performance results in lower system costs, high energy density and corresponding high return on investment. Soliant plans to open a 40MW production plant late next year.

GE's vote of confidence in Soliant's technology adds to Soliant's development efforts, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, which is providing the company with $4 million as part of the government's "Solar America" initiative designed to spur innovation in solar power.

Art Buckland, Soliant's CEO, said, "GE's strategic investment is validation that our approach provides commercial customers with the lowest-cost solar electricity at the plug."

GE is focusing on solar power as part of ecomagination, the company's program to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.

"Concentrating photovoltaic solar power is especially viable for space-constrained applications such as commercial rooftops, and Soliant is well positioned with its elegant design, market-leading efficiency and potential for low installed cost per kilowatt hour of energy produced," said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.

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