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26 Feb 2009 05:02:08

Major solar milestone passed

Major solar milestone passed
Solar panel manufacture has passed a "major" milestone, according to an industry figure and scientist.

First Solar has announced that it has brought the cost of producing solar modules below $1 (70p) per watt of generating capacity.

The company, which also has an end-of-life module collection capacity, was praised by Ken Zweibel, director of the Institute for the Analysis of Solar Energy at the George Washington University.

"This represents a major milestone for the solar industry," he said in a release from the company. "In order to address climate change in a meaningful way, we need energy technologies that are affordable, scalable and have a low environmental impact on a life-cycle basis."

First Solar chief executive Mike Ahearn said producing solar modules for 98 cents per watt represented a milestone in the "evolution" of the solar industry.

In the UK, the We Support Solar group is campaigning to ensure government support for the solar industry.

With the introduction of the Energy Act, feed-in tariffs are set to come into force in 2010 and the industry is lobbying government to set them at the appropriate level, claiming that if it is too low, it could harm the UK's solar energy industry.



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