We have learned that Nanosolar, possibly the most credible aspirant to developing the next generation photovoltaic panel, has partnered with Conergy Group, arguably (among other things) the biggest installer of photovoltaic installations in the world.
Needless to say, this partnership constitutes a huge endorsement of Nanosolar, since Conergy Group would not have gotten involved with them unless their technical and procurement people had done a thorough job of evaluating this company and their technology. We have contacted Conergy’s North American headquarters to request whatever specifics regarding their due diligence they may wish to disclose, which we will report here as soon as we hear back from them.
In the report released jointly by Nanosolar and Conergy Group, it is noted that Conergy Group, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, has annual revenues of 800 million Euros and has already installed over 30,000 photovoltaic systems. Nanosolar, with its “proprietary nanoparticle ink and fast roll-printing technology,” owns the processes and designs which they believe will allow them to produce the world’s most cost-efficient solar cells.
In our previous report on Nanosolar “Silicon Valley Photovoltaics” we report that the company raised $100 million in investor financing and is preparing to build a manufacturing plant capable of turning out 430 megawatts of photovoltaics each year. In 2005 the entire world manufacturing output of photovoltaics was only 1.6 gigawatts, meaning this single plant intends to increase the yearly world output of new photovoltaics by 27%!
Currently the price of photovoltaics has been kept artificially high for two reasons (1) the shortage of polysilicon, something which is changing, and (2) the well-founded fear that a new technology would emerge to greatly reduce the manufacturing costs has discouraged investment in new manufacturing plants. For this reason, while photovoltaic panels sell for around $4.00 per watt, this is a shortage-driven price, and the manufacturing costs are already below $2.00 per watt. Nanosolar, with claims on their website their manufacturing costs will be “a fraction” of current costs, could be what the market has been waiting for.
If Nanosolar delivers on their claims, we could be a few short years from having photovoltaics become a low cost, abundant, totally clean and renewable source of electricity. Read their product overviews, and keep an eye on this company.