First Solar Breaks $1/Watt Barrier for Photovoltaics
First Solar announced it has broken the $1 per watt price barrier in manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) solar module.
Since 2004, First Solar has decreased its manufacturing costs from over $3 per watt to 98 cents per watt in the fourth quarter of 2008. Mike Ahearn, First Solar chief executive officer, said in a press release he is confident the company can reduce costs even further.
A new study by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab found that costs of installed solar have dropped from $10.50 per watt in 1998 to $7.60 per watt in 2007. Researchers found that the reduction in nonmodule costs including labor, marketing, overhead, and inverters, was responsible for most of the overall decline in costs.
First Solar’s PV modules also have the smallest carbon footprint of any current photovoltaic technology, the company said, including the industry’s first and only comprehensive pre-funded, end-of-life module collection and recycling program. Over 90 percent of each collected module can be recycled into new products.
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