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GE brings power to US solar farm

PV technology supplied to largest solar project in the Midwest

GE will supply equipment, including thin film solar panels, to the project
GE will supply solar equipment, including thin film solar panels, to the Grand Ridge Solar project

GE has announced an agreement to supply 23MW of advanced solar equipment to clean energy firm Invenergy. The company will install the solar equipment at its Grand Ridge Solar project now under construction in Illinois. When completed in mid-2012, Grand Ridge Solar will be the largest solar farm in the Midwest.

In addition to supplying thin film solar panels to Grand Ridge Solar, GE also will supply packaged inverter skids that include brilliance inverters, transformers and re-combiners, as well as GE SunIQ plant controls. The SunIQ platform will enhance the grid integration capability of the solar plant.

The Grand Ridge Solar site is located in La Salle County, adjacent to the company’s Grand Ridge Wind project. Invenergy, a leading clean energy company and the US’s largest independent wind power generation company, owns and operates Grand Ridge Wind, where 140 of GE’s 1.5MW series wind turbines are providing 210MW of power.

Michael Polsky, Invenergy’s president and chief executive officer, said: “As we look to continue the expansion of our clean energy portfolio, advancements in technology have made solar a more competitive solution. Having installed over 1,500 of GE’s wind turbines at projects across the US, integrating GE’s solar technology is a natural fit.”

“Invenergy again has established itself as a market leader by bringing its development capabilities to both wind and solar projects,” said Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s Renewable Energy business. “Expertise in multiple technologies is the future of the renewable energy landscape. At GE, we’re uniquely able to partner on both wind and solar projects with customers like Invenergy.”

Late last year, GE announced its plans to build the country’s largest solar panel factory in Aurora, Colo. At capacity, the new factory will produce enough panels per year to power 80,000 homes and will highlight a USD 600m investment in GE’s solar business.

Colorado also is home to GE Energy’s thin film solar pilot line, where joint technology advancements from GE’s Global Research Center and PrimeStar Solar have been validated and tested. GE completed the acquisition of PrimeStar last year.

Solar panels produced in the Colorado factory will be more efficient, lighter weight and larger than conventional thin film panels. High efficiency is a key component of GE’s commitment to offer advanced solar products which reduces the total cost of electricity for utilities and consumers. Lighter panels will allow easier installation and facilitate important applications such as commercial rooftop systems. Larger-sized panels help to lower total system cost by reducing the amount of racking and electrical components required.