31 Dec 2007 11:12:47
Solar cell mass production may cause green power 'revolution'
A US company has begun production of thousands of mass-produced solar cells, in a development that has been hailed as helping to make the energy source as coal-powered electricity.
Californian firm Nanosolar is producing the solar cells on aluminium foil, with a company representative telling the Guardian that they represent the world's lowest cost solar panels.
Nanosolar is set to open its second factory, in Germany, next year, and claims that its order books for the new wafer thin panels are currently full until mid-2009.
"We aim to produce the panels for 99 cents (50 pence) a watt, which is comparable to the price of electricity generated from coal," Erik Oldekop, the firm's manager in Switzerland, told the newspaper.
Jeremy Leggett, chief executive of UK solar energy company Solar Century, added: "This is a revolution. But people are going to be amazed at other developments taking place in solar technologies."
Figures recently published by the US-based Earth Policy Institute revealed that solar energy production is the country's fastest-growing electricity source, with its output doubling every two years.