The market for solar energy is hot (pun intended). Energy Conversion Devices in Rochester Hills offers commercial – and soon, residential – clients a ray of hope: less costly, thin-film solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity.
Harin Ullal, a solar expert and senior project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories in Golden, Colo., says he expects thin film's share of the solar-power market to increase to 25% by 2015, compared with the 10% to 15% market share thin-film manufacturers say they have now...
In addition to being cheaper to manufacture, thin-film panels perform better in low, diffuse light and in blistering hot weather, when crystalline silicon panels can lose as much as 25% of their efficiency. Thin-film panel makers such as United Solar, a unit of Energy Conversion Devices of Rochester Hills, Mich., say that because their products work in partial shade, customers don't have to remove trees to generate electricity.
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