In September the University of Colorado announced that the manufacturing of low-cost, high efficiency solar panels is nearing mass production. The technology is patented by Professor W.S. Sampath, a mechanical engineering professor at Colorado State.
The process should make the total cost to consumers as low at $2 per watt,including instillation cost, which is half of what the current cost of solar panels. Plus you can take the panels off-grid with you. They do not require plug into the grid to work, though being high efficiency, if your state allows rolling back your electric meter, you may want to.
The process to build these panels is to be fully automated with continuous production. With less then 2% of the materials used in that production needing to be recycled. These cadmium telluride panels need 100% less semiconductor material then the high-cost crystalline silicone panels.
According to AVA Solar website these panels should be in large scale production by 2009.
With state and federal incentives this could significantly lower the initial outlay homeowners would have to pay to be self-sufficient in their energy. The only stumbling block is will Fort Collins, Co approve the project to move forward.
Fort Collins, a city that takes pride in being green, is worried about the cadmium, a hazardous metal that has been linked to cancer, that is used in the process of making these panels. This also highlights that while going off-grid/green is the desire, there will be decisions that still need to be made based on our old friends money and global responsibility. We will continue to follow AVA Solar and let you know when their panels hit the market.