First Solar to World: “Hey, We Make Solar for Under A Dollar A Watt!”


First Solar, the company that’s producing a whole bunch of PV for the Masdar Array, dropped another bomb to the world this week – “hey world, First Solar is making solar panels for under a dollar per watt installed!”  Obviously that’s not exactly they said, but let’s hope they shouted it from the rooftops.

The rooftops probably had solar panels installed on them.

The issue really isn’t the cost per watt installed in the case of having PVs (photovoltaics) as power sources – the problem is the installation cost.  Solar panel installation is expensive!  If companies like First Solar want to achieve true parity with other power sources, the price still needs to come down about 25-28% of what it is now.  For a house about the size of the one I live in now (about 2000 square feet – we’re renting!) a 1000W solar installation would cost between $7400 and $11,000.  So, we’re looking at what – $8 or $9 bucks a watt?  You do get a few bucks from the government in rebates, and you save in the long run.  However, my wife and I probably need a 2-3kW system to remove all need for grid power in our house.

You know what would be awesome?  It would be awesome to go to Lowes or Home Depot (or wherever) and buy a DIY solar power kit that is good for a few thousand watts.  I’d have a bunch of work to do this weekend if you could.

Ten from February 2009

I just spent the last half-hour combing through February’s posts.  I spent a good portion of the day at WordCamp Denver today, and during one of the sessions I wondered why I wasn’t doing this every month.  I try to write a lot for the readers, and I try to make sure that every post is quality.  It’s nice to go back through and remember what I had forgotten from earlier in the month.

Here’s ten posts that I enjoyed rereading from February – this isn’t ranked or anything, they’re just all  things I enjoyed discovering:

The Beacon Installation

A Lamp Robot that Eats Bugs

Masdar’s MASSIVE Photovoltaic Array

DA Therrien’s Beautiful Light

Amendment 175 – Colburn’s Proposed Omissions to the Stimulus Package

Meet the LED

ETC Enters the LED Market with the Selador Line

Sha-Do Play – One of the Coolest Things I Have Seen Lately

A Video Homage to Light

Multiverse, by Leo Villareal

PV Means Photovoltaics

I’ve written a lot of stories about PVs lately – thin films, crystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, etc – and how these technologies are becoming the basis of very, very large power projects, like the one in Masdar, Abu Dhabi.

I found a video with a few of the people involved in the PV industries talking about these technologies.  It’s short, but has some good info.  Check it out:

Blight, by Vincent Gerkens


Vincent Gerkens’ Blight is a solar-collecting and alternate energy using illumination system – during the day it collects sunlight, and when you need the light, you get it from the stored solar energy in your home.  Blight is using electroluminescent foil for illumination, which is very thin and needs little power, and thin film PVs for solar collection.

Blight is in the running with other design projects in the Core 77 Design Competition – check it out.  Lots of good stuff.



Thanks, Inhabitat and DVICE!