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Cadmium Telluride Solar PanelsCadmium Telluride Solar Panels

Solar panels that cost less than $1 per watt to produce are on their way, as Colorado State University's new method for low-cost, high-efficiency solar panels looks set to begin mass production. The panels will be made by AVA Solar, and production should start towards the end of next year at a huge factory employing 500 people.

The cost reduction comes from the new, continuous manufacturing process which uses cadmium telluride thin film rather than the more expensive crystalline silicon. Once manufactured, the cost to buyers could be brought down to $2 per watt, which is roughly half the current cost of solar panels.

The process is also greener, with less wastage than previous systems. Only 2% of materials need to be recycled. "This technology offers a significant improvement in capital and labor productivity and overall manufacturing efficiency," said the director of Colorado State's Materials Engineering Laboratory, Professor W.S. Sampath.

Source: "New Low Cost Solar Panels Ready for Mass Production", Industry Week

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