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Surprising Science

G.E. to Build Largest Solar Panel Plant

In a move that could shake up the American solar industry, General Electric plans to announce on Thursday that it will build the nation’s largest photovoltaic panel factory.

General Electric will use its massive resources to build the nation’s largest solar panel plant, The New York Times reports. A company that already invests heavily in nuclear power and natural gas, G.E. wants to scale up production of solar panels and take its share of the renewable energy market. The company faces price pressure from cheap, government subsidized Chinese manufacturing. China’s enormous production capacities have given it a competitive advantage in the production of photovoltaic solar cells. While the American government is offering loan guarantees to promote new factory construction, G.E. is looking instead for federal and state tax credits.

Contrary to popular belief, China’s dominance in the solar panel industry does not rely on its cheap labor source. Instead, it has been better at scaling production. But is that enough?

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